The son of Turnazade Ziya Bey, a bureaucrat at the Sublime Porte, İzzet Ziya was born in 1880. He studied at the French high school in Benghazi, where his father was the Tripoli Customs Officer. He enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts in Istanbul and became a student of Salvatore Valeri, Leonardo de Mango, and Joseph Warnia-Zarzecki. Graduating with a first-class degree in 1903, he briefly went to Paris. There he met Galip Bey, a famous painter and member of the Young Turks movement, who was the publisher of a satirical newspaper. Galip Bey introduced İzzet Ziya to his artistic circle in France, made up of painters and caricaturists. Upon his return to Istanbul, the artist produced illustrations and caricatures for magazines such as Kalem and Resimli Gazete. Aside from his paintings, he was also known for his drawings and his style of writing. Following the declaration of the Second Constitutional Monarchy in 1908 he was appointed secretary of the privy chamber, one of the highest positions at court. Concurrently, he also briefly worked as the official court painter, succeeding Fausto Zonaro in this role. He was assigned to this post when the court architect Vedad (Tek) Bey informed Sultan Mehmed Reşad V that the palace was in need of a court painter. In 1914, he was commissioned to reproduce the late-eighteenth-century court painter Konstantin Kapıdağlı’s Portrait of Sultan Selim III, after it was destroyed in a fire at the French Embassy. The French government awarded him a medal for his success with the reproduction, which would be his final assignment as court painter. İzzet Ziya participated in the Galatasaray Exhibitions from their inception in 1916 onwards, and continued his work as an illustrator at Yeni Kitap, following his tenure at Resimli Gazete.
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