By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been recognized by means of historians of Coptic paintings as an eighteenth-century Armenian icon painter who lived and labored in Ottoman Cairo. right here for the 1st time is an account of his existence that appears past his inventive creation to put him firmly within the social, political, and financial 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 was once there quite a bit call for for his paintings at that specific time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then fairly modest Armenian neighborhood succeed in such heights of creative and inventive undertaking? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds on the subject of al-Armani and different individuals 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 background that would curiosity scholars and students of artwork 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
However, it is important to note that the Armenian community in Egypt enjoyed considerable autonomy in managing its own affairs, independent of the Armenian Church. Contrary to common assumptions, the Armenian patriarch in Istanbul, who was nominally in charge of all Orthodox churches within the Ottoman Empire, does not seem to have had any signiﬁcant inﬂuence or control over the Armenian community in Egypt. indd 36 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 9:04:33 AM Armenian Egyptian community was remarkably well integrated with Egyptian Copts in both religious and social affairs (see Chapter 4).
Thus, Yuhanna was the channel by which European traditions were passed on from Bilad al-Sham to Cairo. Stressing the Syrian inﬂuence on Coptic art, Tania Tribe writes: Towards the end of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth, the style of painters working in Greater Syria took on a more popular character, employing bright, primary colors and becoming less reﬁned. indd 23 23 3/11/08 9:04:31 AM rhetorical qualities inherited from the post-Byzantine artistic tradition, employing well-accepted compositional formulae deriving from biblical texts and popular hagiographical narratives.
And now he signs on white paper and stamps it and they write on it what they want. And they send for our Coptic children in the hope that they would follow them, but this is not possible . . He has become excommunicated, rejected, cut-off, cast aside from all the ofﬁces of the Church. 23 Indeed, many travelers who visited Egypt in the late Ottoman period commented on the deep antipathy that Copts harbored toward Westerners in general, especially after what was perceived as Catholic inﬁltration in the eighteenth century.
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