The enamel image of St. George was made in the 15th century. St. George's cult had from time immemorial been spread all over the whole Georgia.
Gremi Archangel's church (1565) is forming a harmonic ensemble with the royal palace.

To the north of Tbilisi, in the valley of the river Aragvi, there stands a splendid ensemble - Ananuri Fortress, patrimonial estate of the Aragvi Eristavi, with the Main Church, erected in 1689.
The Holy Shroud (1632-1682) is the finest example of Georgian embroidery (silk, silk on silk, orphrey, and silver thread on velvet). On it a scene of lamentation for Christ is shown. Below, in the right-hand corner a donor client is presented - Queen Mariam, a spouse of King Rostom (1632-1659).

Each historical event evidently produces more or less effect on the development of art.

A great impact of the Iranian architecture and miniature is perceived on the 17th-18th centuries Georgian Art. Hence the emergence in the Georgian structures of lancet arches and various foreign decorative elements, organically matching with local forms.
The manuscript of "The Knight in Panther's Skin" was created in the 17th-18th centuries in a Mkhedruli script. The influence of Iranian miniatures is evident. Besides mentioning stylistic impact, it should be noted that on one illustration Avtandil, one of the heroes of Rustaveli's poem, is writing from right to left - in the direction opposite to the Georgian writing.
Two silver plaques with donors' images (1640) were made in Levan Dadiani's gold chasing workshop in the village of Kortskheli (Samegrelo). Represented are the Governor of Samegrelo Levan II Dadiani (1611-1658) and his spouse Nestan Darejan. Carpet-wise background, ornament, the figures' clothing and headgear testify to the influence of Sasanid Iran. These were the part of the large icon of Kortskheli church.
In a high mountainous Svaneti region, based on local climatic conditions, an original culture has developed. Particularly characteristic are the Svan towers, which are constituent part of the local dwelling complex and have a defensive function. The towers, the only ornament of which is an embrasure (the so-called "mashikuli"), by their laconic architecture and simplicity resemble guards in orderly ranks, protecting Svan villages and organically matching with snow covered mountains.

In 1783 Georgia had no option but to conclude a voluntary act with Russia and accept its protectorate. From 1801 the country became one of the Russian Empire gubernias. In 1918 Georgia restored its sovereignty, but only for three years. In 1921 the Bolsheviks raised a red banner over the city, and until 1989 Georgia was one of the Soviet republics, where art experienced political and ideological pressure.

In 1921 members of the Menshevik Government took with them into emigration 39 boxes filled with Georgian antiques, collected from different museums. These treasures were shipped to Marceille and placed in a bank depository. Subsequently this precious cargo was transferred to one of the banks in Paris. In 1935 a Georgian scientist Eqvtime Taqaishvili, a guardian of the Georgian treasures in emigration, approached the French Government with the request to return the treasures back to Georgia. 10 years later, when World War II ended, these samples were brought back to Georgia.
In 1862 an unknown painter created a portrait of a group of Georgian nobility, in which the tradition is felt of Georgian wall painting, side by side with the one of Iranian miniature, and a new Georgian art is also predicted.
Niko Pirosmani (1860-1918) was a self-learned artist. In his creative works the coloring of his contemporary Tbilisi and native Kakheti is represented in the best possible way. He painted on a black oilcloth. His pictures have a monumental character and are at the same time very intimate, warm with sentiment. Among his pictures are "Fisher" and "Still Life".
One of the founders and greatest representatives of the new Georgian art is David Kakabadze (1889-1952). He generalized a scene, which he saw in his yard in Kutaisi, and created a portrait of his own mother at the background of the landscape of his native Imereti. This synthetic picture was named by the author "Imereti - My Mother" (1918).
Lado Gudiashvili's (1896-1978) pictures have preserved the plasticity of karachoghlebi and kinto - the old Tbilisi dwellers. The painter was a brilliant dancer himself and performed gracefully their dances. The canvas "Tsotskhali" (1920) is overflowing with artistry, characteristic of Gudiashvili.
Elene Akhvlediani (1901-1974) basically painted old Tbilisi districts with their peculiar curving streets, houses with balconies, rises and slopes of the streets.
Felix Varlamishvili (1903-1986) spent the most part of his life in Paris, but whatever he painted in emigration was penetrated with nostalgia for Georgia.
Levan Tsutskiridze (born in 1926) put in his illustrations to "The Knight in Panther's Skin" (1966) both the elegance and monumentality of a Georgian fresco, combined with a contemporary, laconically expressive form.
In 1960ies Nikoloz Ignatov (born in 1937) created large pictorial collages of the Georgian land.
Free brushstrokes fill Alexandre Bandzeladze's (1927-1992) canvases with expressive dynamism.
Using etching technique Tamaz Varvaridze (born in 1945) creates an imaginary landscape.
Levan Choghoshvili (born in 1952) portraits the faces of noble ancestors.
Gia Bughadze (born in 1955) revives the pages of Georgian history.
Much is implied in Irakli Parjiani's (1950-1991) highly laconic abstraction.
The name of the capital of Georgia - Tbilisi - comes from the word "tbili" (warm). This city was famous for its hot sulphur springs. Once, when hunting, King Vakhtang Gorgasal (the 5th century) killed a pheasant. The king's falcon found it in hot spring. Subsequently the king ordered to build a city here and transfer the capital from Mtskheta to this place.



Metekhi church (1278-1289) and houses with balconies, characteristic of the city's old districts, create a colorful landscape.

There are many picture galleries in Tbilisi. One of the main galleries is National Gallery (the so-called Blue Gallery). In addition you can visit TMS, Modern Art Gallery, Vernisage, Chardin, Old Gallery, Orient, Hobbey, N, New Gallery, and others.

In the building of Karvasla Tbilisi State Museum is located. In this building there are also several other galleries.

The workers of G. Chubinashvili Institute of History of Georgian Art, which was founded in 1941, are studying the basic issues of the development of Georgian Art. But they are certainly not the only researchers in this area. There are several other centers too: I. Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnography, K. Kekelidze Institute of Manuscripts, Monument Listing Department of I. Abashidze Georgian Encyclopedia Editorial Office and others.

The samples of Georgian Art are preserved in S. Janashia Georgian State Museum and Sh. Amiranashvili State Art Museum, as well as in the Institute of Manuscripts. In these establishments a scientific-research activity is in progress.

We have done a short review of Georgian Art. Obviously it is much more extensive. We have omitted much information, and were obliged to ignore many facts. We tried to transfer to you only the basic, most essential. If you have any questions or wish to learn more about any of these topics, please e-mail to us and we shall gladly respond.

Tbilisi 2001