Mahmoud Said Museum

Top choice in Alexandria

Mahmoud Said (1897–1964) was one of Egypt’s finest 20th-century artists, even though he is little known outside his country. A judge by profession, he moonlighted as a painter and became a key member of a group of sophisticates devoted to forging an Egyptian artistic identity in the 1920s and '30s. This museum presents about 40 of his works in the beautiful Italianate villa in which he once lived. You will need to show a passport to get in.

One of the rooms in the museum is dedicated to female nudes, quite surprising considering the more conservative mood that Alexandria is in today. Said loved to portray various women and their sensuous bodies, adding simple accessories such as headscarves, jewellery or bracelets to celebrate their ‘plebeian’ Egyptian beauty. Some of his works have recently sold for millions of dollars in European auction houses.

From the San Stefano tram stop (line 2), cross the tracks and go up the steps to the raised road (opposite the huge mall). Go right and Sharia Mohammed Pasha Said is a short distance away on the left.