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Kirk Ambrose

(b Moscow, May 7, 1903; d Paris, Jan 25, 1988).

Lithuanian art historian, scholar of folklore and Egyptology, and diplomat of Russian birth. Son of the celebrated Lithuanian Symbolist poet of the same name, Jurgis Baltrušaitis II studied under Henri(-Joseph) Focillon at the Sorbonne and earned the PhD in 1931. The concerns of his mentor are evident in La stylistique ornementale dans la sculpture romane (1931), which reprises and extends arguments for the ‘law of the frame’ in Romanesque sculpture. Accordingly, the shapes of architectural members, such as capitals and tympana, determined the articulation of sculptural forms. This theory could account for the genesis of a wide array of monumental carvings, from foliate capitals to narrative reliefs, but ultimately it had a rather limited impact on the field of Romanesque sculptural studies. In a scathing critique, Schapiro argued that Baltrušaitis’s book—and by implication Focillon’s methods—robbed Romanesque sculptors of agency and neglected the religious and expressive meanings of this art form....


[İzzet Efendi; Kadıasker Mustafa İzzet; Muṣṭafā ‛Izzat]

(b Tosya, 1801; d Istanbul, 1876).

Ottoman calligrapher. He went to Istanbul at a young age and caught the attention of the Ottoman sultan Mahmud II (reg 1808–39), who, on hearing the youth’s fine voice, took him into the Topkapı Palace to be trained and educated. He learnt thuluth and naskh scripts from the calligrapher Mustafa Vasıf (d 1852), from whom he received a diploma (Turk. icazet). Mustafa İzzet, who was a distinguished musician and became military judge (kadıasker) of Anatolia, tutored Sultan Abdülmecid (reg 1839–61) and granted him an icazet in thuluth. Mustafa İzzet produced 11 copies of the Koran, several books of Koranic quotations and prayers, some 200 calligraphic compositions describing the features and qualities of the Prophet Muhammad (hilye), and panels in a fine naskh in the style of Hafiz Osman. He was also responsible for the large calligraphic roundels that adorn Hagia Sophia and he restored the inscription on the dome (...


Walter B. Denny

[Muṣṭafā Rāqim; Mustafa Rakım]

(b Ünye, 1757; d Istanbul, 1826).

Ottoman calligrapher. Together with his elder brother, the calligrapher Isma‛il Zühdü Efendi (d 1806), he went to Istanbul, where he studied with several masters and obtained his diploma at the age of 12. He rose through the Ottoman civil service and eventually held a number of high government offices. He and his brother are generally recognized as freeing Islamic calligraphy from the style canonized by Hafiz Osman (see Islamic art, §III, 2(iv)(a) and (v)). His calligraphic works include a well-known picture of the invocation of the name of God (Arab. basmala; Turk. besmele) in the form of a crane and Tughras for the sultans Mustafa IV (reg 1807–8) and Mahmud II (reg 1808–39). He also crafted the inscriptions on the tomb complex of Mahmud’s mother, Nakşidil Sultan, in Istanbul.

Ş. Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 196–9 A. Schimmel: Calligraphy and Islamic Culture...



[Sami Efendi; Mehmed Sami]

(b Istanbul, March 13, 1838; d Istanbul, July 1, 1912).

Ottoman calligrapher. He was the son of Mahmud Efendi, the head of the quilt-makers guild. Sami learnt ta‛līq script from the calligraphers Kibriszade Ismail Hakkı Efendi and Ali Haydar Bey (1802–70) and thuluth script from Boşnak Osman Efendi. He was also inspired by the work of Mustafa Raqim. Sami’s fine inscriptions and calligraphic compositions adorn several mosques and fountains in Istanbul. He trained such calligraphers as Necmeddin Okyay and Ahmed Kamil Akdik (1862–1941) and was buried in the cemetery of the Fatih Mosque, Istanbul.

Ş. Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 239–41U. Derman: Hattat Sami Efendi (1838–1912): Hayatı ve eserleri [The calligrapher Sami Efendi (1838–1912): his life and works] (Istanbul, 1962)Letters in Gold: Ottoman Calligraphy from the Sakip Sabanci Collection, Istanbul (exh. cat. by M. U. Derman, New York, Met.; Los Angeles, CA, Co. Mus. A.; Cambridge, MA, Harvard U. A. Mus., 1998–2000)...


[Şefik Bey; Muḥammad Shafīq]

(b Istanbul, 1819; d Istanbul, 1880).

Ottoman calligrapher. He first studied calligraphy with Ali Vasfi and then with Mustafa İzzet. In 1845 he was appointed teacher of calligraphy to the Muzika-i Hümayun, the imperial brass band. Together with the calligrapher Abdülfettah (1814–96), he was sent by Sultan Abdülmecid (reg 1839–61) to Bursa to repair the inscriptions in the Ulu Cami (congregational mosque), which had been severely damaged in the earthquake of 1855. His inscriptions there are reckoned among his finest works. During the three years he spent on this project he also wrote inscriptions in other mosques. His work includes beautiful compositions in thuluth, jalī, naskh and dīvānī scripts.

K. Baykal: Bursa’da Ulu Câmi [The Ulu Cami of Bursa] (Istanbul, 1950) A. S. Ünver: Hattat Şefik Bey (1819–1880): Hayatı ve eserleri [The calligrapher Şefik Bey (1819–1880): his life and works] (Istanbul, 1956) Ş.Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), pp. 220–21...


[Şevki Efendi; Muḥammad Shawqī]

(b Kastamonu, 1829; d Istanbul, 1887).

Ottoman calligrapher. He was brought to Istanbul at a young age and learned thuluth and naskh scripts from his maternal uncle Mehmed Hulusi (d 1874), receiving his diploma (Turk. icazet) at the age of 14. Despite the insistence of his teacher, he refused to study with any other master and directed his attention towards an examination of the calligraphic models prepared by Mustafa İzzet. He taught penmanship in the Ministry of War and in several schools. In naskh script he adopted the style of Hafiz Osman and Isma‛il Zühdü (d 1806), while in thuluth he followed Mustafa Raqim. Among his work are several complex calligraphic compositions.

A. S. Ünver: Hilyei saadet hattat-ı Mehmed Şevki [Calligraphic compositions of the calligrapher Mehmed Şevki] (Istanbul, 1953) Ş. Rado: Türk hattatları [Turkish calligraphers] (Istanbul, n.d.), p. 225 M. U. Derman: The Art of Calligraphy in the Islamic Heritage...