Georgia is a small country on a southern slope of the Caucasus mountains on the Black Sea side. Its capital is Tbilisi. Due to its diversified nature and rich historical past, here, at the division border of Europe and Asia, original culture has developed. It is centuries-old. On the world culture map Georgian art is one of the points, truly deserving attention.



I know that I am speaking to many different individuals at one and the same time, rather than to a large audience. Many of you may be visiting our pages during the night hours. I wish that you should get to love Georgian art so much, that you should like to visit Georgia.



On this small land with the territory of 70.000 km2, due to mountainous landscape and divergence of climatic zones (here all climatic zones are represented) a rich and diverse culture has developed since ancient times. The number of population is about 5 mln. people, out of which the ethnic Georgians are about 70 %.

The location has determined history and cultural originality of Georgia. As regards history, due to its favorable geographical position, the country had always attracted the appetites of foreign invaders and its territory had always been a battlefield. As regards cultural diversity, it was obviously determined by climatic conditions and landscape. Various parts of the territory of Georgia differ greatly from one another, and the country itself is divided into separate regions: Imereti, Kartli, Racha, Samegrelo, Svaneti, Khevsureti, Tusheti, Apkhazeti, Kakheti, et al. Each region can be distinguished by its own traditions, customs and jargon. Nature and climate determine artistic means and images. The population of different regions also differs by temperament and psychological peculiarities, which leaves specific mark on the samples of artistic creative activity. But Georgian culture is simultaneously a unified phenomenon with its common characteristic features and originality.
In order to perceive the beauty of Georgian culture you should come to feel local landscape - rest yourself on the sea-side and watch the sunset, climb upon the roof of a Svani tower and take a look at the mountain peaks towering before your eyes. You should view the dome of Nikortsminda church, lying deep in autumn colors. You must throw a fishing net into a river. View white Alaverdi Cathedral, resembling a pointed candle. Listening to the silence of David Gareji's hermitage should arouse worries in you. Look through the battlements of Ananuri fortress and imagine yourself to be a mediaeval knave. Step at the ruins of Bagrati Cathedral, surrounded by mystery. Carefully surmount inaccessible paths on the way to Vani caves. When approaching Tbilisi look up at Jvari Cathedral and view its silhouette against the sky. Take a look at Tbilisi from Mama Daviti Mountain and wonder at the proximity of Orthodox and Catholic churches, Mazdean chapel, Moslem mosque, Gregorian cathedral and Jewish synagogue. Georgia is so small, each of its parts may be visited in a very short time (10-12 days), but if you visit this country for a longer period you will surely be able to see much more. We even advise you to do so, as Georgia is the ancient wine-producing country, and you will certainly need a lot of time for the degustation of wine brands and diverse dishes. You should certainly talk to the people from different regions, speaking various dialects and jargons, having different temperaments, as these were the people who had been creating and continue to do so pieces of art. Man makes earthenware, forge weapons, sings very unique Georgian folk centuries-old polyphonic songs, builds, draws and does all this primarily for the satisfaction of his vital needs. But simultaneously he is putting in all this his own artistic talent and will, which during centuries had assisted the Georgians in creating true masterpieces of art.

Man had inhabited this land for ages. Is was in Georgia that archaeologists have found ancient Euro-Asian remains of those, who lived about 1.6 mln years ago. Since Palaeolithic times Georgia was already intensively inhabited. People tilled land, made weapons. Thus it is obvious that the Georgian soil has preserved many articles, which, as a result of the archaeologists' efforts, are now exhibited in museums and represent the treasure of Georgian people.

Georgian culture had been and is being investigated by a great number of people. Many of them were my teachers and colleagues. I would like to thank all of them for laying by their efforts of foundation for the preparation of these pages. These are archeologists, who have discovered ancient relics. It is easy to imagine the joy they are experiencing at coming across some gold articles during excavation of soil or how labor consuming it is to put together pieces of broken articles and their rehabilitation. Art historians, architects, linguists are investigating the samples of architecture, painting, sculpture, scrutinizing manuscripts and arranging objects of their study in a certain chain, formed and filled by their efforts. Museum workers are keeping and studying articles kept in their custody. Thus many people are working for the disclosure of an artistic value and essence of samples of Georgian art.



The path of the development of Georgian culture may be conditionally divided into three stages:

Early Christian. The soil has stored and archeologists discovered the remnants of house wares, plates and pots, adornments, buildings and settlements. Christian. Christianity has been a state religion since around 337 and this stage is the longest, richest and the most diversified. Particularly developed in this period clerical and secular architecture, painting (icons, frescoes), ornamentation of manuscripts, embossment in gold, stone relief, embroidery, etc. New and the Newest (from the end of the 19th century till now). This period is presented by painting as well as sculpture, decorative applied art and architecture.
Due to the fact that Georgia was for dozens of years (1921-1990) one of the republics of the Soviet Union, the art here experienced political and ideological pressure. Many trends, originated in the West, could not be developed in the Soviet reality. Information penetrated into the "closed" country with great difficulty and delay. Nevertheless, some courageous artists' clandestine activity played the role of a certain "generator". With the disintegration of the Soviet Union all that was previously hidden not only came to light, but became fashionable as well, and the great part of artists had to catch up with everything, prohibited during decades.