Hüseyin Zekai Paşa

Who is Hüseyin Zekai Pasha? (1869 – 1919)

Hüseyin Zekai Pasha, who was interested in painting at a very young age, graduated from Military Junior High School and Kuleli Military High School and then graduated from the Military Academy in 1880/1881. Zekai Pasha, who took his first painting lessons from Osman Nuri Pasha at Kuleli Military High School and from Süleyman Seyyid in Harbiye, followed the observation-based realistic painting of Monsieur Ques (Kess), who taught drawing and oil painting in Harbiye between 1846 and 1866. It is known that the concept also has an impact.

In 1898, German Emperor II. He is appointed as an antiquities expert during Wilhelm’s Syria Trip. As the head of the commission documenting the official visit of the Shah of Iran Muzaffereddin to Istanbul in 1900, he presented an album of 340 photographs to the palace.

  Hüseyin Zekai Pasha, who is interested in photography and antiquities, is interested in antiquities in Bursa and its surroundings and is interested in archeology. He prepared an album consisting of photographs depicting Bursa and its surroundings with their historical and natural beauties and presented them to the sultan. II. He took part in the photography commissions formed upon Abdulhamid’s request and chaired many commissions.

Sultan II. The artist, who joined Abdulhamid's aides class, could not be among the students sent to Europe due to wars and economic crisis. He worked with the chief painter of Mabeyn, Şeker Ahmed Pasha, and after his death in 1907, he was appointed as the palace painter and attendant of foreign guests, and became a member of the Sanayi-i Nefise Committee. II. After Abdulhamid was dethroned, Hüseyin Zekai was removed from this position and appointed as the commander of the First Redif Liva (Brigade), and retired in 1910.

Hüseyin Zekai Pasha, who participated in the works of the Yıldız Porcelain Factory painting workshop, shared his interest in ancient works and his research on this subject, and his book Mübeccel Treasures dated 1913 was evaluated as the first art history book and essay of the period. Emphasizing that everyone should inform their environment for national honor and civilization, the book is an important publication that supports Osman Hamdi's understanding of archaeology, history and museology, discussing the Ottoman intellectual's understanding of history and memory based on "civilization" and "nationalism" and advocating the necessity of protecting cultural heritage.

He participated in Galatasaray exhibitions three times, starting in 1916, and one of his works was exhibited at the 1917/1918 Vienna Exhibition.
His two works, Söğüt Ertuğrul Gazi Tomb, bring together Hüseyin Zekai Pasha's thoughts on archaeology, conservation, museology, photography and art. He first reflected the tomb of Ertuğrul Gazi, the father of Osman Gazi, the founder of the Ottoman Principality, in Bilecik's Söğüt district, with photographic realism, as it was in its ruined state, and then he restored the work in his mind and painted it again.

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