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George Chubinashvili National Research Centre
for Georgian Art History and Heritage Preservation
Ivane Javakhishili Tbilisi State University

Lovers of Georgian art are familiar with the creative work of one of the founder’s of Georgian easel painting – Gigo Gabashvili. Up to date, he is known as original realist artist with distinguished talent in painting, the supporter of Russian School of Peredvizhniks.
His contribution in the art was enormous, as he had enriched Georgian easel, actually, portrait painting with several genres and themes. It is known that after the years spent at Munich Academy of Arts, he informed his friend, David Guramishvili, about his indifference towards those trends in modern art, which were considered as leading tendencies in Munich of those days. On the contrary, he remained devoted to Russian Peredvizniks and Repin. Recently discovered series of works by Gigo Gabashvili (their number is above hundred) have changed the common opinion about him and made his art work more diverse and interesting. The abovementioned works, which I have conventionally grouped into several series, show great affinity with one another and remind of the works by Arnold Boecklin and Franz von Schtuck. As it is known, both artists were educated at Munich Academy of Arts and by the time of Gigo Gabashvili’s activity in Munich, were considered as founders of German (European) Symbolism, already quite widely recognized by that time. Gigo Gabashvili’s works, possibly created in Munich, refl ect Weltanschauhung akin to these artists, aspiration for symbolist art and similar themes: deliberately invented, mysterious environment, the episodes expressing the world of fantasy and allegory, interlaced nude figures of men and women, wrapped in huge wings, depicted in expressive and dynamic poses, either flying or falling down and crashing against the ground. At the same time, their faces are emphatically, ambiguously erotic. Likewise obvious is representation of irrational and demonic elements (similar to Schtuck’s painting) that acquires quite an exaggerated, brutal character. It is obvious that for certain reasons, these very important works of Gigo Gabashvili were unknown until now. Initially, the artist, who had returned to his homeland, might have been unwilling to exhibit them, whereas, later on, our reality was turned upside down and eliminated the desire and possibility to do so for the artist, as well as the researchers of his creative work.

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