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Yūḥannā al-Armanī al-Qudsī et le renouveau de l'art de l’icône en Égypte ottomane

Abstract : Active from 1740 to 1786, the year of his death, Yūḥannā al Armanī al-Qudsī was one of the most prolific icon painters that Ottoman Egypt has ever known. Benefiting from a political and economic renewal, the Christians of Egypt have been able to restore and enhance their religious heritage, in particular by having many icons made to decorate churches. Yūḥannā al Armanī and his close colleague Ibrāhīm al-Nāsiḫ responded to this call by developing large workshops ready to respond to these orders. The result is so spectacular that, even today, it is difficult not to visit a Coptic church in Cairo without seeing a panel made by one or the other of these men. The gathering of a corpus of more than four hundred icons now makes it possible to consider the extent of the work that resulted from this tandem. The style of the painters is also what makes this production so original. Often undefinable, as already noted in his time A. J. Butler at the end of the 19th century, this one illustrates the many sources that have been used. There are both, jumbled together, inspirations from local Christian traditions, evocations of Ottoman fabrics or compositions from European paintings. This particularity is based on a very concrete fact. Yūḥannā al Armanī, as its name suggests, comes from an Armenian family. Although he was born in Egypt and married a Coptic Egyptian, he remains very attached to his roots, both by his place of residence in Cairo - close to the Armenian church - and by the sociability he develops. In order to better understand this atypical painter and his work, it is necessary to understand the networks that existed in Cairo in the second half of the 18th century. His sources of inspiration have been discovered in liturgical works printed in Europe or New Julfa and found in the Franciscan's Library at Mūski in Cairo. Understanding the art of Yūḥannā al Armanī thus makes it possible to better understand the diffusion of Christian iconographies in Africa and the Near East, sailing, according to the currents of the Mediterranean Sea. His work shows that he is not simply between East and West, he is at the crossroads of complex circulations that make this problem explode.
Keywords : Icons Copt Egypt Cairo
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Submitted on : Sunday, November 29, 2020 - 1:02:52 AM
Last modification on : Friday, April 29, 2022 - 10:13:17 AM


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  • HAL Id : tel-03029789, version 1


Julien Auber. Yūḥannā al-Armanī al-Qudsī et le renouveau de l'art de l’icône en Égypte ottomane. Art et histoire de l'art. Université Paris sciences et lettres, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018PSLEP051⟩. ⟨tel-03029789⟩



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