Nusret Çolpan was born in 1952 in the district of Bandyrma near Bursa. He graduated from the Department of Architecture at Yyldyz University in Istanbul. During this time, he studied with two of the leading authorities in Turkish illumination and miniature painting, Dr. Süheyl Ünver and Azade Akar. Mr. Çolpan lives in Fatih, Istanbul, where he runs his own interior decoration and architectural firm.
Mr. Çolpan has been greatly inspired by the work of Matrakçy Nasuh, the acclaimed miniaturist from the court of Süleyman the Magnificent. Nasuh, an historian as well as a painter, not only immortalized sixteenth century Istanbul, and other Ottoman cities, but also the cities of Toulon and Genoa, whose European architecture he rendered in classical miniature style.
A parallel can easily be drawn between Nasuh and modern-day student, Nusret Çolpan. Mr. Çolpan paints the mosques, forts and palaces of Istanbul with the eyes of Nasuh, but the soul of a twentieth century ''Istanbullu.'' His fascination with and love of Istanbul are revealed in his attention to minute detail and in his whimsical compositions, many of which are characterized by their broken borders. Birds, waves and minarets spill out in elegant disarray but always sensitive to seasonal and atmospheric effects on architecture.. Mr. Çolpan will also subject foreign cities to his lyrical brush, rendering for example, Manhattan, as a delicately snow-sprinkled city - scape in which buildings, boats and bridges exist in happy disregard for dimension, Mr. Çolpan's best works explore the many contrasts between stone and the elements-mosques in the moonlight, under a layer of snow or encircled by lush cypresses.
Whether Mr. Çolpan depicts sixteenth century Istanbul or its present-day incarnation, one is aware of the respect he gives to both. Each miniature is an example of his extraordinary dexterity in employing a traditional style to interpret the new as well as the old
Many of Mr. Çolpan's paintings are now located in private collections in New York, Germany, England and Japan, as well as in Turkey. One of his miniatures is a part of the permanent collection at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in California. He had a one-man exhibit in the Topkapy Palace, Istanbul in 1987