Pirosmanashvili, Niko

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Pirosmanashvili, Niko


(also Nikolai Aslanovich Piros-manashvili). Born 1862 (?) in the village of Mirzaani, in present-day Tsiteli-Tskaro Raion; died May 5 (?), 1918 in Tbilisi. Georgian primitivist artist.

Pirosmanashvili, a self-taught artist, worked in Tbilisi, where he painted signs for taverns and other places of entertainment. He also painted pictures on themes from the lives of Tbilisi residents, shopkeepers, craftsmen, and peasants. His other works include landscapes, still lifes, and animal scenes. Pirosmanashvili worked on oilcloth, tin, and cardboard, using pigments that he produced himself.

Pirosmanashvili’s spontaneous naively poetic view of the world enabled him to produce works that are majestic and dignified in spirit. His figures, which are inwardly dramatic but outwardly serene, are romantic representations yet not devoid of down-to-earth qualities. The artist’s works are noted for structured, often multiplanar composition, which seems to develop the action over time. Austere colors, mostly dark tones, predominate; there is a smattering of areas of bright color.

Examples of Pirosmanashvili’s work are Still Life (Museum of Art of the Georgian SSR, Tbilisi), The Orgy of Three Princes (Museum of Art of the Georgian SSR), The Janitor (Museum of Art of the Georgian SSR), Fisherman Among the Rocks (Tre-t’iakov Gallery, Moscow), scenes from Sumbatov-Iuzhin’s play Treason (collection of D. Kakabadze, Tbilisi), and The Bego Company (collection of K. Simonov, Moscow).


Katalog vystavki kartin N. Pirosmanashvili. Tbilisi, 1960.
Zdanevich, K. M. Niko Pirosmanashvili. Moscow, 1964.
Niko Pirosmanashvili (album). Introductory article by Sh. Amiranashvili. Moscow, 1967.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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