By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been identified by way of historians of Coptic paintings as an eighteenth-century Armenian icon painter who lived and labored in Ottoman Cairo. the following for the 1st time is an account of his existence that appears past his inventive construction to put him firmly within the social, political, and monetary milieu within which he moved and the confluence of pursuits that allowed him to flourish as a painter.
Who was once Yuhanna al-Armani? What was once his community of relationships? How does this make clear the contacts among Cairo's Coptic and Armenian groups within the eighteenth century? Why used to be there a lot call for for his paintings at that specific time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then rather modest Armenian neighborhood achieve such heights of inventive and inventive pastime? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds when it comes to al-Armani and different individuals of his social community recorded within the registers of the Ottoman courts, Magdi Guirguis deals a desirable glimpse into the methods of lifetime of city dwellers in eighteenth-century Cairo, at a time whilst a civilian elite had reached a excessive point of prominence and wealth. Illustrated with 28 full-color reproductions of al-Armani's icons, An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Egypt is a wealthy and compelling window on Cairene social background that may curiosity scholars and students of paintings heritage, Coptic stories, or Ottoman history.
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Extra resources for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons
One such household icon of the Archangel Gabriel, dated 1790, survives at the Coptic Museum in Cairo. 57 This was not essentially for aesthetic purposes but mainly for religious ones. An icon in a house gave its inhabitants blessings and could be seen as a protection from adversity. Private collections could potentially form a signiﬁcant market for these objects. Our protagonist, Yuhanna al-Armani, too, was involved in these privately commissioned works, and painted icons that were to be placed in individual homes.
Catherine, as many of them visited this monastery on their way to Jerusalem on pilgrimage. For her, there were many foreign artists on the local scene producing icons for elite Coptic clients. 18 Thus, although the channels of transmission may vary, there is agreement among these scholars with regard to the importance of outside inﬂuences on the work of Yuhanna and on the cultural revival during the eighteenth century. Moreover, most art historians have tended to date to the period a large number of unsigned and undated icons that share a similar style with the work of Yuhanna and Ibrahim al-Nasikh.
However, a number of subjects have so far not been explored. Among them is the history of art in various parts of the Ottoman Empire. Though several studies have focused on the history of Ottoman architecture, the history of painting has not received much attention. Furthermore, while a number of studies have explored the arts of the Ottoman courts, artistic production outside the courts of the sultans, in other words the works produced for other than the ruling classes, has not been explored. Thus, it is not possible to compare Egypt’s eighteenth-century icons with contemporary paintings from other provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons by Magdi Guirguis