Rare Egyptian paintings found in museum cellar

Ahmed El-Shemi, Reuters

, Last Updated: 4:48 AM ET

Rare paintings by some of Egypt's most renowned artists thought to have belonged to the country's former royal family have been found by workers renovating a Cairo museum.

Officials said the trove of 222 works -- including books, maps and newspapers found in the Egyptian Museum of Civilization -- dated back to before Egypt's monarchy was toppled in 1952.

"We found a huge number of artworks from the most popular artists like Hussein Fawzi, Mofeed Gayd and Kamel Mustafa," Culture Ministry official Ashraf Reda told Reuters.

Artists like Fawzi represented Egypt's contemporary art movement in the 20th century, which flourished under King Farouq I and his father King Fuad I.

Army officers overthrew Farouq in a bloodless coup in 1952, bringing an end to a dynasty begun by Mohammad Ali Pasha -- an Ottoman army officer who seized power in Egypt in 1805.

"The artworks represent Orientalists, realist artists and the new classic art," said Tarek Ma'moun, general manager of Egypt's national museums.

The works were discovered about three weeks ago in a small cellar at the Egyptian Museum of Civilization, built in 1936 to document the Stone Age, ancient Egypt and the Coptic age.

The finds will be put on display at the al-Jazeera museum, where the royal collection is housed.


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