MEHMET RUHI AREL
Born in 1880 in the Galata district of İstanbul. Graduated from the Marine School and the Military College as naval architect officer in 1900 and was appointed teacher of painting to the Marine College the same year.
Between 1900 and 1909, studied painting in Sanayi-i Nefise Mektebi (School of Fine Arts). In 1909, graduated with high honors. Friendship with Hikmet Onat, his schoolmate in the Marine College, is strengthened during these years to last throughout his life. In 1905, marries F. Muzaffer Neyzi Hanım and has two sons. His older son Şemsi Arel, his younger son Orhan Arel and his daughter-in-law Maide are also involved in the arts.
In 1909, resigned from the Marine School as a captain. The same year, became a member of the Association of Ottoman Painters founded with the support of Caliph Abdülmecit, and also wrote in the Ottoman Painters' Association's organ.
In 1910, went to Paris, having obtained a government scholarship. In Paris Fine Arts School, he studied under Fernand Corman until his return to İstanbul in 1914 with the break of World War I. Began once more to teach painting in the Marine School. Later, taught at various schools including Kabataş Men's High School, Çapa Girls' Teacher School, Sanayi-i Nefise and Üsküdar Teachers' Training School.
In 1916, participated in the Galatasaray Exhibition with three works. Joined the Şişli Studio, an enterprise of Enver Paşa with other painters such as İbrahim Çallı, Hikmet Onat, Namık İsmail, Sami Yetik, Ali Sami Boyar and Ali Cemal Ben'im in 1917.
In 1922, became a staff teacher at the Free Painting Studio at Çemberlitaş, established with the support of İstanbul Governor Ali Haydar Bey. The general program of that studio, published the same year laid the foundations of Turkish painting.
Mehmet Ruhi Arel died on October 14, 1931, while he was a painting teacher at Üsküdar Teacher School.