By Magdi Guirguis
Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been identified by way of 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 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 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 specific time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then fairly modest Armenian neighborhood achieve such heights of inventive and inventive exercise? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds in relation to al-Armani and different contributors 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 historical past that would curiosity scholars and students of artwork heritage, Coptic experiences, or Ottoman history.
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Additional resources for An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo: Yuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons
It is beyond the scope of this study to survey all the churches and monasteries that were restored or rebuilt during those centuries. This is an important topic and it is to be hoped that scholars will try to undertake a thorough catalogue of Coptic monuments of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. However, a cursory survey indicates that all the churches of Cairo at least were the object of restoration. In some of these churches, the older parts of the buildings were restored; in others, new sections were added or the old buildings were expanded.
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. 14 Other scholars argue for the importance of Byzantine inﬂuences on Yuhanna’s art, suggesting an alternative channel for its transmission.
Consequently, they were removed from churches and burned as fuel. The source for this piece of information is the German Dominican monk, Vansleb. Vansleb visited Egypt at the end of the seventeenth century, in 1672–73. 4 Here he mentions that icons were burned for fuel. 5 However, because the preparation of this oil was an important Church event, Coptic sources address this matter and they provide us with a more convincing explanation for it. From these sources we ﬁnd out that the preparation of the chrism was discontinued in 1461 and was not resumed till 1703.