- Time has preoccupied Mohammed Hassan and kept him from practicing art.
- The head of the first generation of the Egyptian artists has engraved on rocks the history of modern Egyptian movement, and paved their own artistic way among the obstacles of occupation and the Foreign control over Egypt . Among those artists came the great artist Mohammed Hassan (1892-1961) who has exceeded himself during his first year of study at Fine Arts School which was opened in 1908 at darb el gamameze, and his early superiority attracted all his French and Italian professors.
-In 1910, the principle of Fine Arts School wrote about him praising him while he was a 3rd year student saying:` Mohammed Hassan has shown superiority at drawing from his first months at the school, and he is moving forward with steadiness. He drew paintings of his friends and living nature which is not only an imitation. some of his paintings shows his future as a painter, and expresses how he felt colors and origin of formation`.
- In the same year he was chosen -even before he finishes his study by a whole year- as a teacher of painting at the first institute for decoration established by the state. This institute included a special department of Decoration at the school of arts and crafts. In 1919, this department was separated from that school, and became a special school under the name of `School of Egyptian Arts and Decoration` located at Saray Fadel Basha in Al Hamzaoy district, Cairo.
-Mohammed Hassan spent seven years teaching at decoration department in the School of Arts and Crafts which was located in Bolak till the Egyptian government gave him a 2 years scholarship to London to study painting, design, maintenance works, metals, and casting artistic masterpieces; then he returned to Egypt in 1919 after gaining the certificate of London Central School Arts and Crafts to teach at School of Egyptian Arts and Decoration located at Al Hamzawy, Cairo.
-Mohammed Hassan was gradually promoted, till in 1921 he became the School Deputy. This point was the beginning of a new phase lasted for 6 years in which he practiced applied art. These incidents which makes our lives may have driven him to this path at the beginning of his life in which he became the link between Fine Arts and Applied Arts; yet, he had to sacrifice a large part of his painting capacity.
-His talents appeared and his character became complete at this school, so he became the first Egyptian artist that the state depended upon in a number of artistic issues. His successes continued which made the Consultant Committee for Arts recommending sending Mohammed Hassan to another scholarship in Italy in1925 along with his colleagues Yussef Kamel and Ragheb Aiad , and he gained the Academic Certificate of Fine Arts in Rome 1926.
-He continued studying in Italy moving between different fields of art, and having his own studio till he returned back to Egypt in 1929. During these 4 years of scholarship, he produced a large number of paintings in which he painted some of the Egyptian famous characters like diplomats, and other foreign characters; he also did a number of studies of coping from different museums in which he painted a number of selected paintings of international art after the age of Renaissance. Among these is the painting of `Sacred and Profane Love` of the great Italian artist Titan (1485-1576), whose copy is currently in the Egyptian Modern Art Museum which shows the students Mohammed Hassan`s consistency in work and creative talent.
-In addition to other paintings of subjects which he specified with study like the painting of Egyptian boatmen with their different movements while drawing their Nile boats via ropes from the beach in which he perfectly expressed movement, power, complexions and environment. Also, another picture like Cleopatra`s distress who ended her life with a serpent bite. Add to this his caricature paintings which he drew in his Studio including the sarcastic paintings he drew about his friends in which he describes his friends and their features and trends. What is remarkable about the works of Mohammed Sabry at this period is his interest in studying means of technology, his ability to reach the goal of transparency and clarity of oil colors, and the proficiency he has through steadiness of touches, beauty of lines, and proficiency in forming and coloring ; things which distinguish his works all through his artistic life.
-Mohammed Hassan came back from Rome to the point at which he stopped that was jobs in the field of fine and applied arts so he became the deputy of Applied Arts School. This direction had a remarkable effect in directing his life; he is of a generation that was meant to enter fields that were exclusive to foreigners.
-In 1937, Mohammed Hassan became the Principle of Applied Arts School supported by a number of Egyptian Youth who have worked with him before in the different phases of education, he has passed through; in order to upgrade utilitarian arts and spreading the spirit of consistency in work and executive abilities of the applied artist.
-And that is how his intelligence and abilities allowed him to reach the top lines that were exclusive to foreigners; as he was the first Egyptian Director of applied arts, and he will be the first Egyptian Director of the General Administration of Applied Arts (currently Fine Arts Sector).
-Mohammed Hassan`s career is one of the distinguished features in his life as after his retirement age, he was appointed as a Director of the Egyptian Academy of Arts in Rome, and when he returned back to Egypt, he became the Director of Fine Arts Museum in Alexandria till he died in December 1961.
-Behind all this struggle in career life of different artistic positions, the role and character of the artist Mohammed Hassan appears in the movement of Egyptian Renaissance; yet judging his efforts as one of the pioneers of our Renaissance needs considering his age including the effects which affected him, and the factors which directed him so that we can estimate his works outside his era, and only then we can accept it or reject it due to its aesthetic content. But when it is related to the artist and his effort, effect, and position then we must consider his age to judge his works justly.
-Mohammed Hassan touches space in the field of applied arts, and the need to revive it as one of the factors of Renaissance Age since in egypt artistic industry was a force that was eliminated by tyrants of Dark Ages. Did not we know out of `Ebn Aias` book that huge numbers of artists, craftsmen, and thousands of camels loaded with beautiful Egyptian masterpieces were shipped from Egypt to Constantinople at the Age of Sultan Selim I which was the sign of the end of artistic industry in Egypt. Thus Mohammed Hassan directed his efforts toward these arts and decorative crafts which comes from historical and realistic necessities. At this point he left his prints in the field of arts , and adopted a generation of applied artists; in them the power of invention met with that of achievement, and talent of creativity met with the expertise of operation. He was on top of them, designing and executing masterpieces of applied art. Though he was preoccupied with the rise of applied art, it did not keep him from other types of arts; thus besides his ingenuity in applied arts, he produced masterpieces in painting. Since his first year in Fine Arts School, he was famous for drawing portraits, the thing that lasted with him till the end of his life. He adored drawing portraits that makes him studying carefully features, appearance, countenance, and characteristics in addition to a close approach to individuals psychology, and the difference of their countenance and their trends; the thing which made him acquainted with what distinguishes people from each other, and what expresses their souls and their inner characters which made his portraits so expressive about the mood of the person he portrayed, his trends, and what he hides inside of him. Not only that but he was also so genuine in drawing landscapes and has alot of successful works in this field though he did not draw them much as he used to draw portraits. He also liked to draw any paintings with an overwhelming psychological feelings that possessed him.
-You may see that in any of the portraits he drew whether this portrait is of an Egyptian or foreigner character, a woman or man, or a youth or a child; the thing that will makes you admire these paintings which he left us.
-When you look at any of his works especially the portraits, you will find firmness and highness, as it is an honest work of art which an artist cannot attain after a short period of study, but only after a long period of experience, practice and awareness; the artist Mohammed Hassan reached that point in his artistic life. Though there is a firm relation between painting and sculpture, still there are group of people who do not feel this connection due to the difference between the material, or means used in both arts, and we find that many painters succeeded in combining between the two skills painting and sculpture, and also many sculptors succeeded in both fields. we should know that painting is based upon drawing visible objects with lights and shadows on a certain surface, so that after finishing the work it would express the three dimensions, and also sculpture is based originally on the three dimensions that are height, width and depth in a mass of a material formed in its space from different dimensions. Artist Mohsen Mohammed felt that, and he knew that there is a firm link between painting, and sculpture so he drew and sculpted as well. While he was expressing his feelings using colors, he also has a deep interest in sculpture not as a hobby that fulfills his desires, but as a work that completes his character according to his philosophy and self-respect; that is why he is both a painter and sculptor since he has practiced sculpture with gypsum, pottery, stone, ivory, wood and metal. He also used silver and gold in sculpting outstanding masterpieces; besides casting decoration of bronze, and all his works that the state own are widely admired.
-Mohammed Hassan had a lot of talents, but death was just a golden grave containing his talents which preoccupied him, and helped him to achieve a number of accomplishments . Yet, all this was against his art interest as he did not have the chance to develop his extraordinary abilities.
critic/ Mohammed Hamza
- Mohammed Hassan was one of the distinguished few people who have joined Fine Arts School when it was established in 1908. His artistic activity appeared during his years of study, and even his professor wrote about him saying: `he has shown superiority at drawing from his first months at the school, and he is moving forward with steadiness. He drew paintings of his friends and living nature which is not only an imitation. Some of his paintings shows his future as a painter, and expresses how he felt colors and origin of formation`. Because of this superiority, Mr. `Jordon`, head of decoration department at the School of Arts and Crafts has asked him to teach at this School, and Mohammed Hassan agreed. Then he continued his study at Fine Arts School, and was sent to a scholarship in England in 1917 upon a recommendation of Director of Artistic Education to study applied arts specialized in metal art.
-Mohammed Hassan occupied a number of jobs. These jobs along with his ambition led him to deal with foreign supervisors; so he move from one job to another, and he ended up with occupying the position of Principle of Applied Arts School in 1937. He was then the first Egyptian Principle; later on he became the first Egyptian Director of General Administration of Fine Arts, and a Supervisor on Opera House.
-Mohammed Hassan was interested in upgrading applied arts and decorative industries in which Egypt had the best of it since the age of the Pharaohs till the age of Mamalik. It is enough to mention these monuments left by Tot-ankh-Amoun, or the antiques left by the mamlokees in Egypt. Thus Mohammed Hassan`s interest in this aspect was a rational interest, and an awareness of its national connotation especially after the deterioration of applied arts and crafts since the occupation of Ottomans in Egypt.
-Mohammed Hassan raised an excellent generation capable in all fields of applied arts, and they had an obvious effect in achieving a renaissance characterized by creativity and precise execution.
-Mohammed Hassan did not stop painting which he adored and excelled in it especially drawing portraits. He has also practiced caricature and some of his works were published in Kashkool Magazine, as he was considered one of the distinguished artists in this art.
-Mohammed Hassan was the artist of the Authority as he was of unlimited skills , and did not belong to a certain artistic trend, but he was able to do what he was asked for whether artistic or administrative works. And through his administrative activity he knew how to lead and direct the artistic movement; that is why his works were so little in comparison to his colleagues of the first generation.
-Yet, he was one of the leaders of Modern Artistic Renaissance as he raised generations of artists who in turn took the leadership of the Artistic Movement after him.
- His style was decisive, and he was the pioneer of the practical artistic school in applied arts. He practiced more than a kind in arts as he was a painter and an applied sculptor as he has worked in casting precious metals and its alloys. He was also famous for being perfect in drawing portraits of different characters of different nationalities; as well as being distinguished in decorating and finishing masterpieces. Thus, thank to him arts of enamel and medals were revived.
- He also played an important role in caricature which extended to include sculpting his characters.
Prof./ Sobhy Al Sharony