Mtskheta Svetitskhoveli (1029) is the greatest Georgian church. On the plan it
represents a rectangle, stretched longitudinally from west to north. A high dome
rests on freely standing four pillars.
Highly impressive is the interior with the proportions, extending upwards. On the northern façade of the monument there is a relief of its architect's Arsakidze's right hand. An inscription beside the image says: "They have caught me, cut my hand for having done a great job"" Based on this legend a novel is written of the 20th century Georgian writer Konstantine Gamsakhurdia, entitled "Didostatis Marjvena" (Spear-Hand of a Great Master).
|In Alaverdi Church (1st quarter of the 11th century) characteristic features of the Kakheti architecture with its upward aspiring tendency were reflected. Décor is totally neglected. An impressive space of the interior of this church has no parallel in Georgia.|
|In 1030 Bishop Ilarion Samtavneli erected Samtavisi church. This is one of the finest monuments of the epoch. A layout of the church is compact: the western arm is shortened, and on the layout the structure nearly approaches a square. Decorations of the eastern façade - a cross, window and rhombs, together with five decorative arches and a triangular niche on each side of the altar are characteristic for the Georgian architecture of this epoch.|
|Amazing bas-reliefs decorate Nikortsminda church (1010-1014) in Racha.|
|On a silver plate, made in South Georgia at the Sagholasheni goldsmithery (end of the 10th beginning of the 11th centuries) a scene of Annunciation is depicted. Five more similar plates have survived till now. They might have decorated the altar screen. On the other plates we can see the scenes of Bringing to Temple, Meeting of Mary and Elizabeth, Baptism, Ascension. Each composition, along with its decorative frame, is etched on one silver plate.|
The frescoes of Athens church were created in the 2nd half of the 11th century.
Wide-scale construction was in progress at the background of constant wars. Since 1068 Georgia acquired a new enemy - the Turk-Seljuks, but this circumstance did not interfere with the development of the country.
|Gelati Tondo (silver, gilt silver) was created in the 11th century. It represents St. Mamai, tortured to death on the 2nd September 275 for having accepted Christianity. Mamai's image astride a lion cannot be met either in Byzantine or Near East. This iconography image is characteristic of Georgian Art.|
St. Mamai's image is also found on Georgian frescoes in Ishkhani and Manglisi
churches (both in the 11th century). The same saint is also presented in the
12th century manuscript, called "The Works of St. Grigol Theologian". Miniatures,
created for this manuscript, resemble frescoes.
In 1089-1125 in Georgia reigned king David IV, named Aghmashenebeli (Builder). He restored the might of Georgia, built up the country, which gained still more power during the reign of Queen Tamar (1184-1213). Economic progress caused an amazing flow-up of culture. At that time Georgia was one of the most powerful states in Front Asia. The state stretched from the Black to the Caspian seas and extended far to the south.
|David Garejeli - one of the 13 Assyrian monks, sent to Georgia for strengthening Christianity, founded David-Gareja complex, dug out in the rock, as early as in the 6th century. During centuries this monastery grew and gained power. Original frescoes are found in the churches and refectories of this monastery.|
|During David Aghmashenebeli's reign an Academy was opened in Gelati Monastery. Gelati's main church was founded in 1106. To its right and left stand the 13th century churches.|
|Gelati mosaic with image of the Archangel was created in the 12th century.|
|Gelati fresco has preserved David Aghmashenebeli's portrait (1120-1130). It was in this monastery that the great king was buried.|
|Side by side with ecclesiastical manuscripts secular handwritten books have also been preserved. This is a page of an astronomical treatise, written in 1188.|
|The cross, which belonged to Queen Tamar, represents one of the relics of Georgia. In Tamar's epoch brilliant samples of art and literature were created, among them Shota Rustaveli's poem "Vepkhis Tqaosani" (The Knight in Panther's Skin").|
|In the 12th century in Vardzia a huge complex was founded, with hundreds of chambers, dug in the rock. Main Vardzia church has preserved portraits of King Giorgi III (1156-1184) and Queen Tamar.|
|Anchiskhati triptych (silver, guilt silver) was made by the greatest master of Queen Tamar's and Shota Rustaveli's epoch (the 12th century) Beka Opizari.|
|Tamar's image is also depicted on the wall of Betania church (on the borderline of the 12th-13th centuries). On its left there is her son - Lasha Giorgi, on the right - King Giorgi III.|
|This precious Khakhuli icon is an amazing sample of Georgian chasing. Currently it is kept in the Georgian Art Museum. When all the three wings of the triptych are unfolded it is 147 cm in height and 202 cm in width. In the center the 10th-11th century enamel icon of the Virgin is placed (54 x 41), which got lost in 1859. The face and hands were subsequently found in a private collection. The icon is richly ornamented with the samples of cloisonné enamel. At the borderline of the 10th-11th centuries the Virgin's image belonged to the Khakhuli Cathedral (now on the territory of Turkey). At the time of the Turkish Seljuk invasion the relic was moved to Gelati Monastery. Later on, side wings were attached to it, and it was richly decorated. Part of enamel ornaments belongs to the Georgian masters, the other part - to the Byzantine masters. The work on the triptych was finished at the end of the 11th century - beginning of the 12th century. This masterpiece does really reflect the royal might of unified centralized Georgia.|
|The Tsqarostavi Gospels were created in 1195 in Tao-Klarjeti, on the order of the Tbeti church "modzghvari" (dean). It is written in the Nuskhuri script. Materials used are gilt silver, silver, leather, stones, ink on the parchment. In front of each Gospel there is an image of an evangelist. Beka Opizari chases the cover. On the front cover we can see a scene of crucifixion, on the back cover- Deesis.|
|This enamel plate belongs to the 12th century and represents a scene of Resuscitation of Lazarus. It is clearly visible how great is an aesthetic loading of graphically clear-cut lines, created with gold cloisonné in the samples of cloisonné enamel.|
|The four Gospels A-496 belong to the 13th century. On this illustration Mark the Evangelist is depicted. We can see how important was the role of a gold background in the artistic realization of the manuscripts.|
An angel, painted on the wall of Qintsvisi church (13th century), pointing at
Christ's empty grave, is a genuine masterpiece of the Georgian Art.
In the 13th 14th centuries the Mongols, followed by the Turk-Seljuks invaded Georgia. By that time the country had lost its former might, was again broken to pieces and could hardly oppose its enemies. Its situation still worsened after the fall of Constantinople. Georgia lost touch with the Western civilization and was squeezed between Moslem countries. Nevertheless, despite certain influences, it still managed to retain its own individuality and culture.
|The Ubisi icon with the Virgin's image was painted in the 14th century. This painting represents the part of Deesis.|
|This 15th century miniature represents a scene of taking Habakkuk by Archangel Michael. It decorates Psalm H-1665.|