A. Süheyl Ünver

Tıp Doktoru, Minyatür Sanatçısı, Hattat, Tıp Tarihçisi, Sanat Tarihçisi, Yazar

17 Şubat, 1898
14 Şubat, 1986
Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine
Diğer İsimler
Ahmed Süheyl Ünver, Elif Sin

Art and literature historiographer (b. 17 February 1898, İstanbul – d. 14 February 1986, İstanbul). His full name was Ahmed Süheyl Ünver. He also used the pen name Elif Sin in some of his articles. He entered the Military School of Medicine in 1915, but he had to leave because of family problems. The same year, he entered İstanbul University, Faculty of Medicine and graduated in 1921. During his years at the university he engaged in fine arts as well as medicine. Between 1916-23, he studied marbling, gilding, miniature painting and calligraphy at the School of Calligraphy. Meanwhile, he took private lessons in drawing and aquarelle from the painter Hoca Ali Rıza and calligraphy, gilding and miniature painting from Yeniköylü Nuri, İsmail Hakkı Altunbezer and Tahirzade Hüseyin. He worked as an assistant at the department of internal diseases at the Yenibahçe Gureba-i Müslümin Hospital in 1921 and at Haseki Hospital between 1924-27. In 1925, he gave lectures at the School of Industry (later Sultanahmet Vocational High School of Industry). In 1927, he went to Paris to be trained as a specialist in internal diseases. During the two years he stayed in Paris, he continued his medical training and also studied resources on Ottoman miniature painting and Seljuk medicine at the National Library. Within the same period, he went to Vienna for a while for education.

In 1930, he was appointed as an assistant professor at İstanbul University, Faculty of Medicine. After the University Reforms in 1933, he established the Institute of Medicine at İstanbul University, Faculty of Medicine and became the chairman of the institute. Here, he gave lectures on deontology. In 1936, he started to work at the art school at Topkapı Palace and here gave courses on gilding and miniature painting for many years. He became a professor in 1939 and a distinguished professor in 1949. Between the years 1936 and 1955, he gave lectures on Turkish miniatures and decorative arts, while teaching many students at private courses in the same disciplines at Topkapı Palace, which lasted for 19 years. He conducted research on the history of medicine and staged exhibitions of Turkish decorative arts in Europe and the United States. He continued his seminars on the arts at İstanbul University, Faculty of Medicine after 1957, of which he was also a member, at the Institute of the History of Medicine and Deontology, of which he was one of the founders, at the Chair of the History of Medicine and Deontology, of which he was again one of the founders and at Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine from 1967.

At the Institute of the History of Medicine and Deontology, where he was the director, he established the greatest library of its kind with handwritten and printed books, which he had collected from donors. He also established an archive with the documents donated by doctors, scientists, historians, literary writers, artists and their families. He expanded the archive with every kind of object related to human life, even bus tickets. He participated in international congresses on the history of medicine and gave lectures on various aspects of the history of Turkish medicine. In 1939, he was involved in the establishment of the Turkish Historical Society. He retired in 1973.

Ünver dealt with the history of Turkish medicine by classifying it under two titles, which were “Seljuk medicine” and “Ottoman medicine”, and studied the methods of treatment of illnesses in these periods as well as the construction and decoration of hospitals and schools. As a historiographer of arts, he conducted research on traditional Turkish arts, such as miniatures, calligraphy and marbling, and the masters of these arts He also wrote many works related to his studies.

Beginning in 1920, A. Süheyl Ünver conducted studies into the history of the Turks. He collected information on various subjects from historical monuments to calligraphy and fresco, and he drew sketches and pictures. He established an archive with the information he had collected and used them as a source for his articles and books. He noted down every useful piece of information he read, witnessed or heard. With approximately 1500 notebooks containing information he had collected, he reflected the social and cultural structure of a period and thus became an eminent personality in the history of Turkish culture.

After his retirement in 1973, he donated some of his books and notes in his personal archive to Süleymaniye Library, the Turkish Historical Society and the Institute of the History of Medicine at Cerrahpaşa Faculty of Medicine and some works on astronomy to the Museum of the Kandilli Observatory. In 1981, he received the Certificate for Eminent Services at the 1st International Congress of the History of Turkish and Islamic Science and Technology. He received the Honorary Award for Eminent Services to Turkish National Culture from the Foundation for Turkish National Culture and the Grand Prize for Culture and Arts from the Ministry of Culture. He is one of the pioneers of the revival of the classic arts in the Republic of Turkey. He was the first to study every branch of Turkish arts and produce works on these subjects. He wrote more than 2000 works on arts, science and medicine, amongst which is a collection of his poems written in the style of Divan* literature.


Divan (Divan*, ?), Sanayi Hıfzıssıhası (Hygiene in Industry, 1925), İslâm Tababetinde Türk Hekimlerinin Mevkii ve İbn-i Sina'nın Türklüğü (The Role of Turkish Doctors in Islamic Medicine and Proving that İbn-i Sina was a Turk, 1937), Anadolu Beylikleri ve Tıp Tarihimiz (Anatolian Principalities and our History of Medicine, 1938), Selçuklularda Tababet Tarihi (History of Medicine of the Seljuks, 1939), İlim ve Sanat Bakımından Fatih Devri Albümü (Album of Science and Arts in the Period of Sultan Fatih the Conqueror, 1943), Ressam Nigârî (Picture Painter, 1946), Kapılarda Türk Tezyinatı Örnekleri (Examples of Turkish Gate Decoration, 1948), Hattat Ahmet Karahisarî ve Ali Kuşçî (Ahmet Karahisarî and Ali Kuşçî the Calligraphers, 1948), Ressam Nakşî Hayatı ve Eserleri (Nakşî the Painter, His Life and Works, 1948), Ressam Levnî Hayatı ve Eserleri (Levnî the Painter, His Life and Works, 1948), Müzehhip Karamanî (Karamanî the Gilder, 1951), İnce Oyma Sanatı (The Art of Intaglio, 1980)

REFERENCE: Osman Nuri Ergin / Dr. A. Süheyl Ünver Bibliyografyası (1941), İbrahim Alaeddin Gövsa / Türk Meşhurları (1946), Ünver, Süheyl (Ana Britannica, c. 31, 1986), Erguvanlar ve Boğaziçi (Babıalide Sabah, 12 Mayıs 1966), Türkiye Ansiklopedisi (1974, c. 4, s. 1399), Nuran Yıldırım / Bir İstanbul Efendisi (Yeni Yüzyıl, 14.2.1986), Gülben Mesara / A. Süheyl Ünver Bibliyografyası (1998),  Mehmet Nuri Yardım / Edebiyatımızın Güleryüzü (2002),  Nail Tan-Özdemir Tan / Gurur Kaynağımız Kastamonulular II (2004), İhsan Işık / Yazarlar Sözlüğü (1990, 1998) - Türkiye Yazarlar Ansiklopedisi (2001, 2004) – Encyclopedia of Turkish Authors (2005) - Resimli ve Metin Örnekli Türkiye Edebiyatçılar ve Kültür Adamları Ansiklopedisi (2006, gen. 2. bas. 2007) – Ünlü Bilim Adamları (Türkiye Ünlüleri Ansiklopedisi, C. 2, 2013) - Encyclopedia of Turkey’s Famous People (2013).


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