By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been recognized via historians of Coptic artwork 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 lifestyles that appears past his creative creation to put him firmly within the social, political, and monetary milieu during which he moved and the confluence of pursuits that allowed him to flourish as a painter.
Who was once Yuhanna al-Armani? What used to be 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 rather a lot call for for his paintings at that individual time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then quite modest Armenian group succeed in such heights of creative and artistic undertaking? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds with regards to al-Armani and different contributors of his social community recorded within the registers of the Ottoman courts, Magdi Guirguis bargains a desirable glimpse into the methods of lifetime of city dwellers in eighteenth-century Cairo, at a time while 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 historical past that would curiosity scholars and students of artwork background, 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
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.
So the phenomenon of the disappearance, as it were, of Coptic art includes not only icons but also manuscripts, frescoes, and various religious artwork. If icons were painted over, or burned for fuel, what happened to manuscripts and wall paintings of the same centuries? Rather than offer explanations as to where or why the icons, manuscripts, and religious artworks of the ﬁfteenth, sixteenth, and seventeenth centuries have disappeared, it is perhaps legitimate to ask whether in fact any such works were produced during these centuries in the ﬁrst place.
It appears as if no Coptic icons were painted from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries. Most modern scholars explain this gap of three hundred years by bringing up two factors. The ﬁrst is the destruction of many churches and monasteries during the fourteenth and ﬁfteenth centuries, recorded in the chronicles of the Mamluk period (1250–1517). Icons and other religious works of art were costly to produce and were primarily designed for use within religious buildings; with fewer churches in use, there was less demand for such artwork.
An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons by Magdi Guirguis