Fine Arts in Egypt
The Egyptians knew the plastic art of all its kinds since the remote ages of ancient times. The statues of kings and the elites as well as the illustrated and engraved paintings reflected artistic concepts in the services of rituals of gods, kings and the dead.
The ancient Egyptian arts, such as sculpture, drawing and inscriptions were closely associated with the architectural engineering. None of them was an independent art, but they were used for ornamenting temples and tombs. This, in turn, had impact on the features of these arts.
This ancient Egyptian civilization provided the world with varied and unique architectural forms of royal tombs, temples, dams and others. The multi-purpose civil architecture also flourished in the Greek era, most outstanding of its products is Alexandria lighthouse, the third of the Seven Wonders of the world.
The Coptic civilization also focused only on two definite kinds of sculpture. The first is the tomb witness, which is a limestone board where its top part is often of a triangle form containing drawings. The second kind is sculpture decoration at the top or below walls.
When we come to the Islamic era, we find the artist focuses on plant, animal and engineering forms. The creation of the plastic art in the Islamic era is characterized by attraction that surpasses limits of time, space, language, culture and belief. Glass crafts and Arabesque became common and flourished during this era.
During the Tolonic epoch in Egypt, porcelain arts spread; pots of porcelain of metal shine were used by rich people instead of gold or silver pots.
The Fatimide artists were masters of accuracy in their paintings, not known in Egypt before.
During the Memelukes period, the text-hand transcription ranked high in the decoration elements on masterpieces of work of art.
As for the modern art renaissance in Egypt, it was associated with a series of factors and considerations that formulated thinking and ethos of the artists. It was parallel to the increasing national sensations, modernization process and enlightenment campaigns seeking identity of the Egyptian civilization.
Therefore, some of the Plastic art pioneers in Egypt had similar roles of that of enlightenment thinkers. Their role in their art domains remarkably contributed to the national struggle movement for freedom and independence and reassertion of the national identity. Among these artists were Mahmoud Said, Mahmoud Mokhtar, Yousif Kamel, Ragheb Ayyad, Mohammed Nagi and others.
Several groups of plastic art successively appeared. In 1928, “The Imagination Group” headed by the sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar was established. It was followed by “Fine Arts Amateurs Group” which came to the scene in Alexandria in 1929. In 1932, the “Egyptian Complex of Fine Arts” was founded by Mohammed Sedqi Al-Gabadangi. Then the “Egyptian United Artists” came to the surface in 1936.
From the 1930s to the 1980s, movements and groups of plastic artists in the Egyptian society came to life. Many new artists came to the limelights. Among them were Fouad Kamel, Ramses Younan, George Henin, Gamal el-Segeni, Saleh Yousri and Mohamed Oweis. In 1981, the “Axis Group” was formed by four artists: Ahmed Nawar, Abdul Rahman al-Nashar, Abdul Hafeez and Al-Razaz; they were all landmarks of the plastic movement of our modern time.
These groups of artists remarkably contributed in displaying and propagating the plastic art to a large scale, and they shaped evident features of the contemporary plastic art movement
Egypt State Information Service. May 2012