By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been recognized through 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 lifestyles that appears past his creative creation to put him firmly within the social, political, and fiscal milieu during which he moved and the confluence of pursuits that allowed him to flourish as a painter.
Who used to be 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 was once there rather a lot call for for his paintings at that individual time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then really modest Armenian neighborhood achieve such heights of creative and inventive activity? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds in relation 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 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 heritage that might curiosity scholars and students of paintings heritage, Coptic reports, or Ottoman history.
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Additional resources for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons
I believe that this issue requires further investigation and that we need to reconsider the evidence. Doing this could lead us to the view that the revival of Coptic art was in fact not limited to the lifetime of either Yuhanna al-Armani or Ibrahim al-Nasikh. indd 24 I C O N - PA I N T I N G I N E I G H T E E N T H - C E N T U RY E G Y P T 3/11/08 9:04:31 AM a century before their time. This argument has important consequences for our understanding both of Yuhanna al-Armani and of the revival of Coptic art because what it really means is that prior to his lifetime, and prior to the inﬂuence of Bilad al-Sham and of Western artistic traditions, a revival was taking place as a result of local conditions and as a continuation of older traditions.
46 2. Church of the Virgin in Harat Zuwayla was restored, decorated, and furnished with new manuscripts by Mu‘allim Yuhanna Abu Masri (d. c. 1709). 47 3. The Hanging Church of the Virgin was restored at the expense of Mu‘allim Guirguis Abu Mansur al-Tukhi (d. 48 4. 49 5. The Church of the Archangel Michael in Old Cairo was restored by Mu‘allim Lutf-Allah Abu Yusuf (d. 50 6. 51 7. 52 8. The monastery of Anba Bula on the Red Sea was brought back to life after being abandoned for some 119 years. In 1732, a new church was built at the monastery at the expense of Mu‘allim Guirguis Yusuf al-Suruji.
On the assumption that Yuhanna al-Armani was born and raised in Jerusalem, scholars have argued that his work provided a link with artistic traditions of Syria and Palestine, and it helped to diffuse them in Egypt. The artistic traditions of Syria and Palestine were themselves inﬂuenced by Western artistic traditions. The churches of Bilad al-Sham (Greater Syria) were, moreover, permeated not only by Byzantine inﬂuence, but by close and continual contacts with the Western Church. 14 Other scholars argue for the importance of Byzantine inﬂuences on Yuhanna’s art, suggesting an alternative channel for its transmission.
An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons by Magdi Guirguis