Arts and literature

By the turn of the 20th century, Beirut was vying with Cairo as the major centre for modern Arab thought, with many newspapers, magazines, and literary societies.

In literature, Khalil Gibran, who was born in Bsharri, is particularly known for his book The Prophet, which has been translated into more than twenty different languages.Several contemporary Lebanese writers have also achieved international success; including Elias Khoury, Amin Maalouf and Hanan al-Shaykh.

In art, Moustafa Farroukh was one of Lebanon’s most prominent painters of the 20th century. Formally trained in Rome and Paris, he exhibited in venues from Paris to New York to Beirut over his career. His work was applauded for its representation of real life in Lebanon in pictures of the country, its people and its customs. Farroukh became highly regarded as a Lebanese nationalist painter at a time when Lebanon was asserting its political independence. His art captured the spirit and character of the Lebanese people and he became recognized as the outstanding Lebanese painter of his generation. He also wrote five books and taught art at the American University of Beirut.