Georgian (Georgia)English (United Kingdom)
BOOK ILLUMINATION: METAMORPHOSIS PAR EXCELLENCE? (MODERN GEORGIAN MINIATURE PAINTING: TRADITION AND IDENTITY)

NINO CHINCHARAULI
George Chubinashvili National Research Centre
for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation
Tbilisi State Academy of Arts

During the last decade, artistic phenomenon executed in miniature technique and style can be singled out. The miniaturists hardly introduce any stylistic innovations, basing their creative work, mainly, on medieval art.

However, the time has changed the context, pointing to the change of function and meaning of neo-miniature painting. Over the last decade, modern Georgian miniature, as a renewable part of the tradition of medieval handwritten book, was introduced by regeneration of medieval Christian culture. Since the beginning of intensive construction of churches and monasteries and attended process – popularization of traditional applied arts (enamel, felt and metalwork), miniature art, connected with the art of calligraphy easily appears on the proscenium. The process of “revival” of miniature painting in Georgian Fine Arts is not unique. It was quite naturally emerging in the modern art of those countries, which had age old history of book illumination, activating preservation of cultural traditions, where the mechanism of identity was playing the crucial role. Based on the traditions of medieval book illumination and modern Georgian book design, new artistic phenomenon, so called “miniaturized painting”, is now in the process of formation. Biblical themes, not often represented in secularized forms, are predominant here. These works, known as expensive artifacts, are characterized by the accentuated subjective individual aspect, narrative and free iconographic approach; artistic images are “miniaturized” at the expense of lost monumentality; decorative expressiveness has become the leading point. The art of illumination in modern Georgian painting, with its non-rational and infantile spirit, forms separate trend of artistic taste, which has many similarities with the stylistics of salon art, mass culture and their specific features (ornateness, sentimental psychological realism and eclecticism1). Modern form of Georgian miniature painting does not uncover conflicts, contradictions and paradoxes. On the contrary, it deletes any such symptom. In some cases, it can be closer to kitsch category. In terms of research, it is interesting to know that the art of illumination, as an inseparable part of modern Georgian Fine Arts, has incorporated the miniature painting and book illustration but, actually, it is not an example of any of those two. The research is aimed at finding what the essence of this specific artistic phenomenon is and determining its place in time and space.


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