Because of a lack of research about Turkish art, there are only a few places where one can find images and history about the country's art culture, which dates back thousands of years.
Professor Nurhan Atasoy, who has been working on Turkish art and its history for many years, offered the Turkish Cultural Foundation a project: archiving the images she has collected over 22 years on the foundation's Web site. Her archive of Turkish art, which consists of about 12,000 digitized slides, launched last week.
Atasoy, an art historian who donated the slides to the foundation, works as a senior scholar. Her aim with displaying her art online is to benefit the academic community and Turkish art lovers throughout the world through her project with the foundation, which works to promote Turkish culture.
Atasoy's interest in art history started when she was in high school. Envious of the love her grandfather had for art and history, she started to study Turkish art.
"I travel a lot, for work and pleasure. And for the past 22 years wherever I go I take pictures and collect images of Turkish art," Atasoy told Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review. "I like seeing the treasures of Turkish art."
Over the years, Atasoy photographed Turkish art in Ireland, Egypt, Italy, the United States, Portugal, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Ukraine and Syria, as well as on travels around Anatolia. During her research trips, she was influenced by Seljuk architecture, and she started taking photos.
Later on, she began research on miniatures. "It is impossible to look at the miniatures and remember them later with all their details," she said. "That's why I took photos."
Her collection of slides, representing a lifetime of work, includes images dating back to the 1950s. The photos show ceramics, textiles, Ottoman miniatures, tiles, palaces and metal works.
The images were later transferred to digital media as part of the project. According to Atasoy, the foundation's Web site is visited 2 million times a year and provides information about Turkish culture and art through the history, genres, instruments and performers of Turkish music.
It also includes information about Turkish culture and cuisine, including recipes for traditional Turkish dishes and information about the history of Turkish food, as well as various contemporary regional Turkish cuisines.
"It is as useful for me as it is for the foundation," Atasoy said. "I can display my work to a huge crowd through the Internet, and the foundation gets the chance to have a large archive of Turkish art."
Established in 2000, the Turkish Cultural Foundation invites individuals, schools, universities and other organizations that share the same goals and want to support the Web site to suggest or provide references and materials in print or electronic formats.