Georgia Arts and Music

By | September 2, 2021


Since the Bronze Age the territories of Georgia were interested in the first metallurgical experiences matured in the Caucasian area already in the III-II millennium thanks to their proximity to the civilizations of Anterior Asia. In addition to defensive or residential buildings, the numerous tumulus burials (which in many ways anticipate the Scythian “royal mounds”) of Calka-Trialeti and other places in Transcaucasia date back to this period, containing ceramics, weapons, objects and ornaments in gold and silver. In the sec. VI in the regions of ancient Colchis elements of Greek culture spread, arrived on the shores of the Caucasus through the commercial cities (Dioskourias, Phasis, Pityous etc.) created by Ionian colonists. Later Roman and then Iranian influences penetrated Georgia (in the contribution of Sassanid art, impregnated with Hellenistic influences and Roman Syria). With the introduction of Christianity (5th century) religious architecture became established, with the construction of numerous basilicas with three naves (according to the forms widespread in the Mediterranean area), in which the interest in the organization of the internal space prevails over that of the external volumes (basilicas of Sion in Bolnisi, of Urbnisi, of Dmanisi and of Ančishati in T’bilisi). Between the end of the century. VI and the beginning of the century. VII the type of church with a central domed plan spread, where the skilful use of trumpet pendants creates exceptional solutions of connection between the square plan and the polygonal plan of the high drums that support the dome: the oldest example, with a tetraconch structure, is the church of Džvari (586-604), while that of Cromi (626-634), with a dome on four pillars and triangular niches flanked by the apse, constitutes for these characteristics a model for subsequent developments. The churches built between the century. X and XIII bear Romanesque and Byzantine influences (churches of Alaverdi near Telavi, of Bagrat in Kutaisi, of Sveti-Choveli and of the monastery of Samtavro in Mcheta, of Nikorcminda, of Samtavisi of the 11th century; of Gelati of the 12th century; of Betania, Ikorta and of Pitareti of the XIII century). The great season of architecture ended with the Mongol invasion and the succession of other historical events. The one that followed repeated patterns of the past or limited itself to restoration or expansion of the old buildings. Major developments in sculpture were the mural painting, whose tradition flourished alongside architecture (church of Iprari, of S. Giorgio in Nakipari, 11th-12th century, church of Ubisi, 14th century, church of Gelati, 16th century). They flourished in the art of miniature (Gospels of Adisi, 897, and of Dzuruci, 940), of the enamel (image of the Virgin, of the 10th century, set in the gold triptych of Hanuli of the 12th century, now in the State Museum of T’bilisi) and of sacred goldsmiths. After the annexation to Russia in the century. XIX art in Georgia was expressed according to the themes of Russian and Western inspiration in which contemporary styles have developed. Among modern artists, we remember, in the field of painting, N. Pirosmani (1862-1918), who detached himself from the representation of religious life and chose the vitality of daily existence as subjects of his frescoes; the artist, unknown until his death, was rediscovered by Georgian modernists such as D. Kakabadze (1889-1952), L. Gudiašvili (1896-1980) and Š. Kikodze (1894-1921). According to 3rjewelry, Georgia is a country in Europe.


Georgian music has a long tradition: it already speaks of it in the century. IV a. C. Xenophon. Unlike that of neighboring peoples, popular music is polyphonic; in the sec. IV d. C. began to develop the Christian religious song and in the century. X M. Modrekili introduced the neumatic notation. Since the nineteenth century the European influence has been noted in music. In 1851 the Opera Theater in T’bilisi was founded, in 1917 the conservatory, in 1924 the symphony orchestra. Among the Georgian composers active between the end of the century. XIX and the beginning of the XX are remembered MA Balančivadze (1862-1937), considered one of the founders of modern Georgian music, ZP Paliašvili (1871-1933), leading exponent of classical music of the country, DI Arakišvili (1873-1953), ethnomusicology scholar, OV Taktakišvili (1924-1989), author, among other works, of two symphonies and several concertos for piano and violin. Among the contemporary exponents, we remember G. Kančeli (b. 1935), author of music inspired by the Orthodox faith. The polyphonic choirs (the importance of the Georgian polyphonic tradition is testified by the decision of UNESCO which, in 2001, included it in the list of world heritage): in the capital, the well-known Rust’avi choir performs, led by the leader A. Erkomaičvili, protagonist of popular tours in various countries of the world. The study of ancient Georgian folk instruments and the repertoires connected to it over the centuries is also linked to this tradition: among the main ones, we remember the salamuri, of ancient origin, pandori and cionguri (from the lute family). Local dances are also of popular origin and widespread, successful blends of art and technique, inspired by the life of the regions of which they are expression and enhanced by choreographic solutions of great impact, such as those curated by the founders of the Georgian State Dance Company (n. 1945), N. Ramišvili and I. Sukhišvili. Of a completely different nature, but equally successful, the music of Shavi Prinsi and Bedina, young Georgian rappers who have established themselves in the music scene of the country by spreading the hitherto unknown underground sounds of hip-pop, giving voice to that metropolitan culture that did not struggle to find a place for diffusion and amplification in the industrial urban centers scattered throughout the country.

Georgia Arts and Music