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7. Painting the Late Ottoman Woman: Portrait(s) of Mihri Müşfik Hanım

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Chapter Summary

It has been often been observed that women have been rendered invisible by historians and frequently left out of written history. However, while their subjectivities and activities may not be reflected in written history, many women have been true 'historical subjects,' important contributors to the making of history. Mihri Müşfik Hanım is one of these neglected historical subjects, a significant figure of late Ottoman and early Republican Turkish society mainly because of her contribution to the institutionalization of art education for girls and the modernization process in Turkey. The beginnings of plastic arts in the late Ottoman Empire went hand in hand with the westernization process in other areas, such as the military, education, and public administration during the years 1774 1820, generally regarded as the early period of westernization. It has been argued that Mihri Hanım could be regarded as an Orientalist painter in the style of Osman Hamdi Bey.

Keywords:late Ottoman woman; Mihri Müşfik Hanım; Painting; Republican Turkish



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