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An Armenian Artist in Ottoman CairoYuhanna al-Armani and His Coptic Icons$
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Magdi Guirguis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9789774161520

Published to Cairo Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.5743/cairo/9789774161520.001.0001

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The Background

The Background

(p.7) 1 The Background
An Armenian Artist in Ottoman Cairo

Magdi Guirguis

American University in Cairo Press

Yuhanna al-Armani is an icon painter whose paintings still adorn a number of churches in Old Cairo. Yet, curiously enough, he is often credited with being behind a revival in Coptic religious art in the eighteenth century. He belonged to Cairo's Armenian community, a community with ancient roots in Cairo, which was sufficiently well integrated into Egyptian society that one of its members could become a leading painter of Coptic icons. This chapter attempts to sketch a biography of Yuhanna al-Armani. Needless to say, Yuhanna's icons, the body of work he produced, remain an important source of information on the man and his times. By taking into consideration the works he painted and the archival material deriving from various sources, one can tie the concrete cultural production to the social and economic conditions of the eighteenth century.

Keywords:   Yuhanna al-Armani, Coptic religious art, Armenian community, Egyptian society, cultural production

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