By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been recognized by means of 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 existence that appears past his creative creation to put him firmly within the social, political, and fiscal 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 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 quite a bit call for for his paintings at that individual time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then particularly modest Armenian group succeed in such heights of creative and artistic exercise? 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 paintings background, Coptic stories, or Ottoman history.
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Extra info for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons
Indd 30 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 9:04:32 AM A parallel development was taking place in Istanbul during the same period¸where Ottoman court painting was experimenting with a different kind of subject matter. 29 The Eastern Christian Context The Coptic and Armenian churches share some basic creeds and beliefs. Both churches are monophysite, having rejected the doctrine of the Council of Chalcedon in 451, believing in the altogether divine nature of Christ.
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. indd 42 EGYPTIAN ICONS BEFORE YUHANNA AL-ARMANI 3/11/08 9:04:34 AM the monastery to attend the church’s consecration. The restoration and the celebrations were quite costly.
Indd 37 37 3/11/08 9:04:33 AM Of relevance to our discussion here is the transfer of religious artistic production—mainly manuscript copying, icon-painting and frescoes— from an occupation for men of religion—priests and monks—to a profession exercised by laymen. Artists like Yuhanna al-Armani were a consequence of this change. indd 38 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 9:04:34 AM 3 Egyptian Icons before Yuhanna al-Armani Y uhanna al-Armani’s ubiquitous works were part of a broader revival in icon production in Egypt, one that, it could be argued, preceded Yuhanna himself.
An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons by Magdi Guirguis