Ayad, Ragheb (1892–1982) By Radwan, Nadia
Born into a Coptic family in one of Cairo’s popular neighborhoods, Ragheb Ayad is a prominent member of a generation of Egyptian artists known as al-ruwwād or “pioneers.” He was among the first students of the newly established School of Fine Arts in Cairo in 1908. Throughout his career, he depicted scenes of rural and popular daily life in his oil paintings and drawings. He created an original folklorist style inspired by the arts of Ancient Egypt and traditional practices. Graduating in 1911, he taught at the Great Coptic School before receiving a scholarship in 1925 to study at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Rome. Ayad was the initiator of the idea of creating an Egyptian Academy in Rome. In 1930, he was appointed head of the Decoration Department at the School of Applied Arts in Giza. He was named director of the Free Section of the School of Fine Arts in Cairo in 1937. Between 1950 and 1955, he was the director of the Museum of Egyptian Modern Art.