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

By Magdi Guirguis

Yuhanna al-Armani has lengthy been identified through 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 lifestyles that appears past his inventive construction to put him firmly within the social, political, and monetary 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 was once there loads call for for his paintings at that individual time? and the way did a member of Cairo's then really modest Armenian group succeed in such heights of inventive and inventive recreation? Drawing on eighteenth-century deeds in relation to 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 would curiosity scholars and students of paintings 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

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These archons controlled the various affairs of the community, including Church affairs. It was they, rather than the patriarchs and bishops, who became the true leaders of the community, with the acquiescence of Church authorities. 42 The study of this trend can help us to understand certain changes taking place in Egyptian society as a whole, notably a trend toward secularization of society. This is a subject that is worthy of further exploration with regard to other groups in society, because it is not likely that the Copts underwent such a trend alone.

Historians have argued that the state structures of the Ottoman Empire became more decentralized; this process is sometimes dated to the latter part of the sixteenth century, but more often to the eighteenth century. It was a state of affairs that allowed the rise of local elites who gained prerogatives at the expense of the state’s authority, although there were significant differences between one region and another. The state needed to rely on local notables and elites in order to protect and sustain its economic interests.

An icon in a house gave its inhabitants blessings and could be seen as a protection from adversity. Private collections could potentially form a significant market for these objects. Our protagonist, Yuhanna al-Armani, too, was involved in these privately commissioned works, and painted icons that were to be placed in individual homes. One of these was of the highly venerated saint, Dumyana. This icon eventually ended up in the Mu‘allaqa, the Hanging Church in Old Cairo. ”58 Thus, the cultural trend that had started off to fulfill the strict needs of the church or the monastery came to expand as private demand sprang up for icons for home use.

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