TALK: Friends of the library
|Friends of the library : The Panorama of Constantinople by Melchior Lorck
Dr. Nigel Westbrook trained in architecture in Melbourne, and later at the Architecture Association in London, where he was exposed to the rich architectural history of Europe. He had a career as a practising architect in London and Melbourne before crossing over to the University of Western Australia to take up a position in the Architecture school in 1993. He is now an Associate Professor, teaching and researching in architectural history and theory, and Associate Head (Research) at the School of Design. Overseas studio teaching (1994-1997) in Greece and Turkey led to an interest in the cultural exchanges between the Middle East and the West, and commencement of a PhD on the subject of the Classical survivals in the Byzantine Great Palace in Constantinople, now Istanbul, as the song goes. He is currently completing a book that grew out of the PhD, another co-edited book on Late Antique palaces, and a third, jointly written book on modern architecture and heritage in Iran, from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. All three books examine the subject of cultural exchanges. In the course of searching for documents that describe the transition from Byzantine to Ottoman culture in Istanbul, Nigel came across a mid-sixteenth century manuscript drawn by a Danish artist, Melchior Lorck, which depicts the city as it existed in 1559, a century after the Ottoman conquest. The book has proven to be a treasure trove of documentary evidence for long-disappeared monuments in the city.
In his talk, Nigel will discuss how the artist encountered the city, what his tools of the trade would have been, and what the manuscript, a panoramic view some 12 metres long, tells us about this fascinating and ancient city.
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