Starting in its earliest days, Georgia developed a unique architectural style that is most visible in religious structures dating as far back as the sixth century A.D. The cupola structure typical of Georgian churches probably was based on circular domestic dwellings that existed as early as 3000 B.C. Roman, Greek, and Syrian architecture also influenced this style. Persian occupation added a new element, and in the nineteenth century Russian domination created a hybrid architectural style visible in many buildings in Tbilisi. The so-called Stalinist architecture of the mid-twentieth century also left its mark on the capital.
Painting, Sculpture, and Metalworking
Like literature, Georgian mural painting reached a zenith during the golden age of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Featuring both religious and secular themes, many monuments of this and the later Byzantine- and Persian-influenced periods were destroyed by the Russians in the nineteenth century. Examples of Georgian religious painting remain in some of the old churches. Stone carving and metalworking traditions had developed in antiquity, when Roman and Greek techniques were incorporated. In the golden age, sculpture was applied most often to the outside of buildings. In the twentieth century, several Georgian sculptors have gained international recognition. Among them is Elguja Amasukheli, whose monuments are landmarks in Tbilisi. Metalworking was well established in the Caucasus among the ancestors of the Georgians as early as the Bronze Age (second millennium B.C.). This art form, applied to both religious and secular subjects, declined in the Middle Ages.
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