Download An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and by Magdi Guirguis PDF

By Magdi Guirguis

Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been identified via historians of Coptic artwork 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 construction to put him firmly within the social, political, and financial 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 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 inventive and artistic recreation? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds in terms 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 heritage that may curiosity scholars and students of paintings historical past, Coptic reports, or Ottoman history.

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Extra info for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons

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37 Toward the end of the seventeenth century, the neo-Mamluk households started to emerge as the real hegemonic powers that controlled political life in Egypt. They competed with the army officers over power until they managed to gain control of the major economic resources in the eighteenth century. Eventually, the official representative of the Sultanate, the pasha, became a ruler in name only as real power resided with the Mamluk amirs. The leading historian of the period, ‘Abd al-Rahman al-Jabarti, summarized the state of affairs thus: The Year 1188 (March 14, 1774–March 3, 1775): As the year began, the governor of Egypt was Khalil Pasha.

However, that does not mean that there was no artwork linked to churches. 35 In contrast to the simplicity of Armenian church interiors, the community focused its attention and patronage on less ostentatious religious artwork such as theological and liturgical manuscripts. One cannot then explain the presence of an Armenian artist painting in Coptic churches by arguing that non-Chalcedonian churches shared a similar iconographic tradition. They did not. ’ This phenomenon is better understood within a Coptic context: Copts could easily accept an Armenian artist painting icons in their churches, of subjects related to their Church and its saints, and in styles familiar to them, since the man himself belonged to the non-Chalcedonian orthodox creed.

The Revival of Icon Production Like many other subjects of the Ottoman Empire living in Cairo, or in other parts of the territory, Yuhanna al-Armani’s person embodied several cultural layers that co-existed or were superimposed one over the other. Because of this cultural complexity, it is useful to identify some of these layers and to try to assess how they may have had an impact on what he produced and the way he did it. We can read his life from within at least three distinct cultural circles: the culture of Cairo where he lived and worked, the culture of the Armenian community to which he belonged, and the culture of Jerusalem—a reference to the epithet ‘al-Qudsi’ frequently appended to his name.

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