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Encountering Authenticity: Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum

Encountering Authenticity: Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum

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With eagerness and enthusiasm we sat foot in Mahmoud Mokhtar Museum in Cairo. We surly entered this sculptures museum with amazement to see this pioneer Egyptian sculptor’s works of art.  Excited already? So, keep on reading to experience authenticity and nationalism through sculptures.

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Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Biography

Above all, Mahmoud Mokhtar is a renowned Egyptian sculptor who is regarded as the father of modern sculpture in Egypt. Born in 1891 in village in Egypt where he grew up with his farming family. Later, in 1902 he moved with his family to the capital, Cairo, where he began to pursue his passion and dreams. In 1908 he joined the faculty of fine arts, then he graduated to attend a scholarship in the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. Mahmoud Mokhtar worked as a sculptor until his death in 1934 leaving a wonderful collection of sculptures to the nation.

Towards The Museum

Our walk in towards dignified nationalism starts with the museum’s entrance. Above all, it’s worth mentioning that the great Egyptian architect Ramses Wissa Wassef designed Mahmoud Mokhtar museum to host his splendid sculptures in 1962.  The façade of the building reminds the visitors of the sculptor`s outstanding career while also exhibiting some of his two incredible works: The Secret Keeper and The Head of Saad Zaghlool.

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Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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The Secret Keeper. Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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Head of Saad Zaghloul. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Inside Mahmoud Mokhtar museum, you will truly see a genuine product of Egypt through its exhibition halls. These halls include hall of khamaseen, hall of famous figures, hall of Saad Zaghloul. In addition to the hall of jar bearers and a hall of reliefs. Throughout these halls, the sculptor showcases his works as a graceful symbol of the country.

Hall of Khamaseen

For those who don’t know, khamseen is a hot and dusty wind that blows between winter and early spring. In this hall, Mokhtar represented this wind’s effects on peasants through his sculptures. For instance, “The Khamseen Wind” sculpture that the artist sculpted out of artificial stone in 1929. Also, “The Sadness” which Mokhtar modeled out of basalt and “The Fields Guardian” that was made out of bronze.

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The Khamaseen Wind. Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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The Sadness. Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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The Fields Guardian. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Hall of Famous Figures

In this hall, Mahmoud Mokhtar sculpted the heads of famous figures mostly political and artistic ones. Some of the statues presented include: Head of Ali Ibrahim and Head of Adli Yeken and Head of the artist Santos. Many of these pieces were made out of bronze and sculpted between 1927 and 1929.

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Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Hall of Saad Zghloul

Saad Zghlool was a great Egyptian revolutionist and leader who greatly inspired our sculptor Mahmoud Mokhtar. The whole hall presents artworks dedicated to Saad Zghalool. For instance, there is the bronze maquette of Zaghloul that later turned into a statue. Another sculpture for the leader is also standing in the hall and is also made out of bronze.

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Maquette of Saad Zaghloul. Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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Sculpture of Saad Zaghloul. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Moreover, the hall also boasts with a masterpiece called “The Nile Bride”. Made of artificial stone and created in 1929, this sculpture is to speechlessly stare at.

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The Nile Bride. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Hall of Jar Bearers

Filled with real peasant scenes and even more real sculptures, this hall is truly exquisite. One of the stunning sculptures is “The Cheese Seller”.  A stone-made piece of a peasant woman carrying a bowl of cheese.

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The Cheese Seller. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Hall of Reliefs

Finally, we visited the hall of reliefs to see sculpted reliefs amazing us. The grand Saad Zaghloul relief where he presented the demands of the Egyptians to the British Minister is surly an exceptional piece.

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Saad Zaghloul Relief. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Throughout The Museum

We noticed some wonderful works around the halls inside the museum. Some of these include: The marble “The Soliloquy” piece. The remarkable “Isis” sculpture that’s also in marble. In addition to the “The Reckless” that was sculpted out of gypsum and “The Peasant”.

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The Soliloquy. Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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Isis. Photo Courtesy: linesmag
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The Peasant. Photo Courtesy: linesmag

Also by Mahmoud Mokhtar

Being deeply moved by the 1919 revolution in Egypt against the British occupation. In addition to being obsessed with the magnificent history of ancient Egypt and honoring the village culture, affected his works of art. For instance the statue of the “Egyptian Renaissance” or “Nahdet Masr” sculpture in Nahda Square in Giza. This 90 year old masterpiece depicts a typical Egyptian peasant woman standing tall where her right hand rests on the head of a proud sphinx. On one hand, the woman unveiling her face represents Egypt’s post-revolution revival. On the other hand, her companion, the Sphinx recalls the greatness of Egypt’s history. Overall, the statue celebrates Egypt’s glorious past while looking ahead to the future.

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Egyptian Renaissance. Photo Courtesy: wikimedia.org

A Final Word

To sum up, Mukhtar is the magician of granite, basalt, marble and stone. He passed away leaving behind a memorable legacy of great art in his museum that we encourage you to visit. To read more about our sculptor visit: Mahmoud Mokhtar. To read about other museums in Egypt click on: Museum of Islamic Art and Hurghada Museum.

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Ambitious architect, eccentric writer and a lifelong learner. Fascinated by the world and always in search of new adventures and experiences to tell. The dream is to inspire people to pursue new perspectives through the splendid art of writing.

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