By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been recognized 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 lifestyles 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 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 was once there lots call for for his paintings at that individual time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then quite modest Armenian neighborhood achieve such heights of creative and inventive recreation? 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 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 stories, or Ottoman history.
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Extra resources for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons
It was the demand for such works that created the artistic revival and the patronage of the new civilian elite that was ﬁnancing these works. Thus, we can in fact date back the revival of icon-painting to the midseventeenth century, not the mid-eighteenth century. The local context of the Armenian community in Egypt can also be explored in relation to Armenian communities elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire. More of this will be discussed below. 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.
And followed the Franks . . 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.
Their clients were largely Copts and therefore the subjects depicted were primarily Coptic subjects; icons of local Coptic saints predominated. For example, the Egyptian saint Abu Sayfayn, who was often depicted in ancient Coptic icons, was likewise a popular saint in the seventeenth and eighteenth century and many surviving icons depict him. With such a multitude of cultural models and traditions it is difﬁcult to determine how painters adapted local styles. Did provincial artists conﬁne themselves to the local traditions that matched their clients’ tastes?