1920 – 2000
Ragheb was one of the most prominent Egyptian artists in the art of
portrait and silent nature in the Arab world. His paintings were so
special that critics called him “The Painter of Music.” He obtained his
Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 1952.
Ragheb was able to occupy a prominent position in Egypt as a portrait
painter; he is considered the knight of portrait as his brush touches the
inner self before the external features. He does not paint human faces
but paints this radiation that is emitted from the inside. Accordingly, he
was the artist who was assigned to paint Egypt’s great guests,
presidents and kings, and he also painted many famous political,
artistic and literary figures such as Youssef Idris, Zaki Naguib
Mahmoud, Tawfiq Al-Hakim, Ihssan Abdel Quddus, to name a few.
“This is my soul, not my body,” the great writer Tawfiq al-Hakim said
about his portrait as he saw it drawn by Sabry Ragheb. “Only now did I
understand what was inside Ihssan Abdul Quddus,” is what Abdel
Quddus stated upon viewing the portrait Ragheb had painted of him,
Sabry Ragheb not only drew portraits for many personalities, but also
painted many self-portraits that spoke of the different stages of his life.
His self-portrait, which he painted in 1961, is considered one of the most
impressive portraits in the history of the Egyptian art movement. But the
truly inspiring story in his life was that of his wife Yvonne Ragheb, who
lived with him for half a century. Yvonne was his inspiring model, for who
he held a large exhibition in 1959 consisting of 117 paintings, all of her.
Sabry Ragheb’s work is characterized by the translation of the
immediate feelings that the character reflects, as well as the
the disappearance of the “line” element, the dependence on color, shadows
and spaces in defining shapes, and the lack of interest in highlighting
details and parts. Sabri Ragheb has several famous sayings, including:
“Human drawing is one of the most difficult colors in art, because it is
not a photographic transfer, and requires the artist to enter into the
depths of the human soul; to photograph it and discover the things that
a person may try to hide.”