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Ismet Inönü Heykeli

  • Between 1941 and 1944 the Berlin sculptor Rudolf Belling worked on the Ismet Inönü Heykeli. The monument was placed in the neighbourhood of Maçka.
  • Monument
  • Ismet Inönü Heykeli

    Word Count: 4

  • Monument for Ismet Inönü
  • Rudolf Belling
  • 1941
  • 1944
  • Ismet Inönü Parkı, Vişnezade, Maçka, Istanbul.

  • Istanbul (TR)
  • Between 1941 and 1944 the Berlin sculptor Rudolf Belling worked on the Ismet Inönü Heykeli. The monument was placed in the neighbourhood of Maçka.

    Word Count: 24

  • Between 1941 and 1944 the Berlin sculptor Rudolf Belling, who had taught at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul since 1937, worked on an equestrian statue of the Turkish president Ismet Inönü.
    The monument, which is five metres in height, is cast in bronze. Inönü is depicted wearing a uniform and coat, in a confident pose, one arm resting at his side. His prancing horse also conveys strength and sovereignty. Belling’s equestrian statue thus follows a tradition that honours the sitter as a military and political victor, a war hero who has left the battlefield behind and now presents himself as a courageous ruler. Inscribed on the seven-and-a half-metre-high pedestal is the text of a telegram sent by Atatürk to his companion Ismet on the occasion of his second victory against the Greek army at the battle of Inönü in March 1921. “You not only defeated the enemy there, but also saved the people from an unfortunate fate,” it says. The entire monument is dedicated to the figure of the “Salvator” who, as glorious commander, saved the Turkish nation from destruction.

    Belling oriented himself on historical representations of the “maximus honos” and, in a conversation with the Turkish Post, acknowledged as his model the ancient equestrian statue of Marcus Aurelius in Rome (interview with Rudolf Belling, in: Türkische Post, 20 August 1943). Comparisons with the first draft show that Belling extended his composition with the addition of a three-metre high sculpture of a naked young man, which can be read as recourse to antique representations of Apollo. The sculpture is installed in front of the pedestal, below the equestrian statue. The young man with the idealised body holds a laurel branch in his right hand, an attribute of Victory and Immortality, and in his left hand is a torch. The figure is designed as an allegory of the nation; it symbolises the young Turkish Republic, which was only able to establish peace and thus constitute state sovereignty by winning the wars of liberation – represented by the laurel.
    The equestrian statue was designed for Taksim Square in Istanbul, where an urban reorganisation was to be carried out under the urban planner Henri Prost at the beginning of the 1940s (as a result of this reorganisation Taksim Military Barracks where in the 20s the first major exhibition organised by the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople took place were demolished). In this context Clemens Holzmeister planned his ideal theatre together with the emigrated opera and theatre director Carl Ebert (who at the end of the 1930s invited Nikolai Kalmykoff to work on adornment of Ankara State Conservatory) and presented studies of the constellation of the square, which also show Belling's monument. However, this location became a political issue, as an Atatürk monument by the Italian sculptor Pietro Canonica had already been placed there.

    The Democratic Party, which had been in power since 1950, accused Inönü, now in opposition, of exalting himself at the expense of the state founder Atatürk. A short time later, a ban was issued prohibiting the erection of monuments to persons still alive. As a result, the entire monument became obsolete and was kept in storage for decades. It was not until 1982, long after Belling’s death, that the equestrian statue was erected in front of Inönü's former house.
    Not least with his equestrian monument, which triggered a fierce political controversy and thus brought him into the public eye, Belling distinguished himself as a representative of neo-classicism, which was oriented in terms of both subject and style to models of antiquity. Thus, compared to his earlier abstract work, such as Dreiklang (1919/24), produced in the Weimar Republic,  Belling's work now took a turn towards a figurative and classical understanding of sculpture. This can be seen not only in a frieze designed for the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Istanbul University (1950), but also in a second Inönü monument, in which identifiability and legibility were clearly guiding principles. In 1944, this life-size statue of the president of the Republic was created for the Faculty of Agriculture at Ankara University. Inönü is standing in civilian clothes in front of the university, thus presenting himself as a mentor of education, a departure from the more military representation of the Istanbul equestrian statue.

    As professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul, Rudolf Belling taught several generations of Turkish sculptors who were responsible for many of the monuments erected in Turkish public places, including his students Mehmet Şadi Çalık, Hüseyin Gezer, Yavuz Görey and Hüseyin Anka Ozkan.

    Word Count: 765

  • Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Maçka, Istanbul, 1940–1944, detail (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2002).
  • Ismet Inönü, 3rd left, visiting the Academy of Fine Arts Istanbul. Also present: Mayor of Istanbul, Lütfi Kirdar, far left; Ismet Inönü and wife, both seated; Academy director Burhan Toprak, far right. Belling's equestrian statue of Inönü can be seen in the background, 1. August 1942, photographer unknown. (Cezar 1983, 16).
    Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Maçka, Istanbul, 1940–1944, front view (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2002).
    Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Maçka, Istanbul, 1940–1944 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2002).
    Rudolf Belling, Monument for Ismet Inönü, Courtyard of the Agricultural Faculty of the University of Ankara, 1943/44 (Photo: Burcu Dogramaci, 2004).
    Rudolf Belling, Moulding for the Istanbul University, entrance to conference room of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, 1946, detail (Photo: Dogramaci, 2002).
  • Berk, Nurullah, and Hüseyin Gezer. 50 yılın Türk Resim ve Heykeli. Iş Bankası Kültür Yayınları, 1973.

    Cezar, Mustafa. “Güzel Sanatlar Akademisi’nden 100. Yılda Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi’ne.” Kurumumuz 100 Yaşında, edited by Muhteşem Giray, Mimar Sinan Üniversitesi, 1983, pp. 5–84.

    Dogramaci, Burcu. Kulturtransfer und nationale Identität. Deutschsprachige Architekten, Stadtplaner und Bildhauer in der Türkei nach 1927. Gebr. Mann, 2008.

    Dogramaci, Burcu. “‘Gegenständlich und naturfern zugleichʼ. Von Denkmälern und freien Formen: Rudolf Belling in Istanbul und München.” Rudolf Belling: Skulpturen und Architekturen, edited by Dieter Scholz and Christina Thomson, exh. cat. Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Berlin, 2017, pp. 286–303.

    Nerdinger, Winfried. Rudolf Belling und die Kunstströmungen in Berlin 1918–1923. Mit einem Katalog der plastischen Werke. Deutscher Verlag für Kunstwissenschaft, 1981.

    Rittlinger, Herbert. Geheimdienst mit beschränkter Haftung. Bericht vom Bosporus. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1973.

    Word Count: 139

  • Rudolf-Belling-Archiv, Krailling.

    Word Count: 2

  • My deep gratitude goes to Elisabeth Weber-Belling, who constantly supported my research.

    Word Count: 12

  • Burcu Dogramaci
  • Istanbul
  • No
  • Burcu Dogramaci. "Ismet Inönü Heykeli." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 18-09-2021.
  • Rudolf Belling

    As a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Technical University in Istanbul from 1937 until 1966, Rudolf Belling taught his students the technicalities of form, material and proportion.

    Word Count: 28

    Nikolai Kalmykoff
    PainterScene DesignerMuralist

    Kalmykoff played an active part in the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople and at the same time worked as a stage designer. Later he acquired the Turkish citizenship.

    Word Count: 29

    Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople

    The Union existed for less than two years but in that short space of time a tremendous amount of work was done by its members, refugees from the Russian Empire.

    Word Count: 30

    Exhibition of Russian émigré artists at Taksim Military Barracks

    The exhibition of Russian-speaking émigré artists at Taksim Military Barracks was the first major exhibition organised by the Union of Russian Painters in Constantinople.

    Word Count: 24