Portraits of Kakhetian Nobles From the beginning of Georgian Easel Painting up to 20th Century

Date: 21 June 2018 – 21 Sep. 2018

Museum: Sighnaghi Museum

Georgian National Museum presents the exhibition "Portraits of Kakhetian Nobles - From the beginning of Georgian Easel Painting up to 20th Century" in Sighnaghi Museum. 

The exhibition will showcase 44 paintings - portraits of Georgian nobles, examples of Tiflis Portrait School, as well as sculpture and miniature. Exposition comprises portraits of Kakhetian historical figures, such as: King Erekle II, Queen Darejan, Prince Vakhtang unknown prince, Prince Vakhtang Dimitris-dze Janbakur-Orbeliani, Princess Tekla and David Guramishvili, as well as Qajar paintings - representatives of Andronikashvili family. 

The material showcased at the exposition will be exhibited for the first time in this interpretation and scale. Some of them are unknown to the general public. It is also noteworthy that the exhibits were undertaken by the restoration and conservation works, a large part was placed in authentic frames.

The first easel paintings in Georgia are portraits of kings and representatives of the royal court, painted on canvas in oil; their majority is quite large and mostly unsigned. The solemn character of the structure of the image and the formal-compositional aspect links them to the genre of the "court portrait". Within the common traits of this genre, these portraits are characterized by a different manner of execution, which in its turn points to the different painters, the different ways of Georgia's art contacts with Europe and Russia, as a result of which the influence of Western culture reached Georgia. 

From the first decade of the 19th c. the so-called "Tiflis Portrait School" starts to take shape, existing up to the 1860s-180s. These small portraits depict representatives of the gentry (gentlemen, ladies) and fledgling bourgeoisie. Here the European orientation gives way to the strong influence of Georgian medieval painting. The trace of the influence of Iranian painting is also noticeable (miniature, Qajar-style portrait). 

It can be assumed that the rise of this fairly original portraiture at the beginning of the 19th c. was in tune with the political and social reality of the country. The loss of Georgia's political independence and hence disappearance of class rights and traditions caused in the Georgian aristocratic circles nostalgia for the past, which was also reflected in the paintings of this period. 

The exhibition is dedicated to 75 years jubilee of Chief Curator of the New and Modern Art Collections of Georgian National Museum, doctor of art studies, Professor Irina Arsenishvili.

Opening: June 21, 2 pm
Duration: June 21 - September 21
Address: Sighnaghi Museum, Shota Rustaveli Blind-alley 8, Sighnaghi, Georgia.