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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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.