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. right here 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 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 used to be there a lot 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 inventive and inventive pastime? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds on the subject of al-Armani and different participants 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 whilst 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 artwork historical past, Coptic reviews, or Ottoman history.
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Additional resources for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons
This argument has given rise to another hypothesis. 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.
However, on the subject of icons, these churches differed. Icons were an important part of Coptic churches and occupied a signiﬁcant portion of their space. It would be difﬁcult to imagine these churches devoid of their icons, which are an essential part, not only of the visual composition but of the rituals that churchgoers follow. ”33 Icons, in short, were part and parcel of the rituals habitually undertaken in the Coptic Church. Things were, in some ways, radically different with regard to the Armenian Church.
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. Mat Immerzeel, for example, considers that Byzantine artistic traditions reached Egypt through Crete.
An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons by Magdi Guirguis