Symbolist Trends in the Georgian Modernist Art of the 1920s Georgian Modernism

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Tsisia Kiladze


Modernism in Georgian painting developed very quickly and, reaching the level of European trends, took shape as an extremely individual phenomenon, but unfortunately, shortlived, as it was suppressed under the conditions of the totalitarian Soviet regime. Georgian modernism, which purposefully was erased from our cultural memory, in our days must be reintroduced and studied, which is very important not only for creating a complete picture of Georgian culture, but as well for the history of world art.

Since 1910, Georgian artists directly in Europe get acquainted with the modern art, they go to study in Europe. A distinctive feature of Georgian modernism compared to European is the love of tradition, a huge interest in the ancient culture of the country and the search for national values resulting from it. The goal of Georgian artists was to create “modern and national” art. National forms of avant-garde art were to be born precisely from traditions.

It should be noted that directions or groups have not
developed in Georgian modernism. Тhe creativity of each artist is going to be developed individually. They turn to cubism, expressionism, modernism and other styles and trends, but this is only a part of their individual creativity, and not the main characteristic feature. Symbolic approaches and very interesting
examples of metaphorical thinking are being created, but still no one of Georgian artist can be called a symbolist. The purpose of my work is to identify and analyze symbolic trends in the work of Georgian artists of modernism, comparison with European examples, which as a result will determine the features of their vision.

Тhe features of symbolism are more noticeable in the
works of Shalva Kikodze, Lado Gudiashvili and Valerian Sidamon-Eristavi. It is also interesting that symbolism in the works of these artists is expressive. The symbolic nature and expressionist art forms found in their works should not be accidental. In the work of Valerian Sidamon Eristavi, several works are distinguished by expressionist moods and stand out
in his work, where he allegorically represents a painful for him moment which is associated with the entry of the Red Army. The works of Shalva Kikodze are usually characterized by strong irony, grotesque and at the same time deep philosophical vision, which is especially noticeable in the works of the Paris period.

And the works of Lado Gudiashvili are closest to modern Georgian literary symbolism, his creative method is based on metaphor and allegory and is especially close to the worldview of symbolism.

Published: Dec 20, 2021

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Art Studies