Giorgi Chubinashvili National Research Centre
Founders

George Chubinashvili

(1885, St. Petersburg – 1973, Tbilisi)  Founder of the Georgian school of art history. In 1906-1916 studied psychology and history of arts in the universities of Leipzig, Halle, and Petrograd. In 1917-1922 he worked at the Caucasian Institute of History and Archaeology, in 1929-1934 – in the State Museum of Georgia; in 1934-1941 he headed the Department of Architecture at the Metekhi Art Museum, and in 1941-1973 – Institute of History of Georgian Art. In 1918-1948 G. Chubinashvili was a Full Professor of Tbilisi State University; in 1922-1940 – Full Professor of Tbilisi State Academy of  Arts (1922-1928 – Rector of the Academy); he was Doctor of Philosophy and Professor of Halle University, Member of the Academy of Sciences of Georgia, Corresponding Member of the Academy of Architecture of the USSR, Doctor Emeritus of the Leipzig University, Honoured Scientist of Georgia.  One of the major subjects of G. Chubinashvili’s research was history of the medieval Georgian architecture. He identified general stages and characteristics of its development, monographically studied the most significant monuments of the ecclesiastical architecture in Georgia (Bolnisi Sioni basilica, church of the Holy Cross in Mtskheta and its satellite churches; Tsromi, Samtsevrisi, Kumurdo churches, the ‘Three Cathedrals, etc.); He dedicated fundamental monograph to the ecclesiastical and secular architecture in Kakheti region; he is the author of works on architecture of 1930-1950s. G. Chubinashvili published a voluminous monograph on the medieval Georgian metalwork, identifying major stages of development and peculiarities of plastic arts in Georgia.  Problems of the medieval mural painting are discussed in his culturological-art historical monograph on the Gareji cut-rock monasteries; G. Chubinashvili wrote about the samples of minor arts created in Georgia (golden objects excavated in Armaziskhevi, ivory Triptych from Racha) and imported from other regions (Syrian chalice found in Ushguli); has published number of articles about his contemporary artists and scientists. He also studied architecture of the neighbouring countries (Armenia, Ingushetia, and Azerbaijan), he is the author of a scholarly article on Albrecht Durer s "12-year-old Christ",  and several scientific-popular articles about European artists (L. Kranach, E. Barlach, F. Maserel, K. Kolvitz). 

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Renee Schmerling

(1901, Tbilisi – 1967, Tbilisi)  Art Historian, famous scholar of the Georgian art; Prof. Dr. (1966). She was born in Tbilisi and lived all her life here; her activities were linked with Georgia and Georgian art. Having graduated from the Tbilisi Academy of Arts (1929), she worked at the State Museum of Georgia and since 1941 was the senior researcher of the Institute of History of Georgian Art. She is the author of fundamental monographs on the medieval Georgian architecture and architectural sculpture, old Georgian plastic art and medieval book illumination. She also studied problems of the Georgian palaeography and published guidebooks on the architectural sites of Georgia.  Schmerling’s works are characterised by the thorough, comprehensive research of each monument and superb stylistic analysis. She had doubtless literary talent, which also distinguishes her writings. R. Schmerling was a fanatic of her work. She had visited almost every region of Georgia, making thorough records and sketches in her notebooks; she had organised several expeditions to Svaneti, Dagestan, etc. Collaboration with her was always interesting for her colleagues and most beneficiary for the young scholars. Having worked 26 years at the Institute, R. Scmerling had greatly contributed to its activities and Georgian art historical field. Her works occupy a significant place in the scholarly literature on Georgian art. 

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Vakhtang Beridze

(1914, Kutaisi – 2000, Tbilisi) In 1936 graduated from Transcaucasian Institute of Industry, Department of Architecture. In 1936-98 was lecturing at various institutes, Tbilisi. Since 1941 – staff member of the G. Chubinashvili Institute of History of Georgian Art. Director of the same institute in 1973-1988 and 1996-2000, and Honorary Director – in 1988-1996. Prof. Dr., Member of the Academy of Sciences of Georgia, Honoured Scientist of Georgia, Georgia State Prize Laureate.   V. Beridze’s research works was mainly focused on the history of Georgian architecture. Of crucial significance are his fundamental monographs on the 12th-14th cc. churches in Samtskhe, 16th-17th cc. ecclesiastical architecture, architecture of Tbilisi in 1801-1917, Georgian architecture of 1920-1930s, which had defined general direction of the scientific research of the named historical periods.  V. Beridze is the author of the monographs on individual monuments (church of St. George in Savane, Katskhi church, “Magalaant church”, etc.), regional schools (Tao-Klarjeti) and architects (Sv. Kldiashvili). Widely recognised are his generalising works on the Georgian architecture in Georgian, Russian and German (the latter in collaboration with Edith Neubauer) and his encyclopedic ‘Ancient Georgian Masters’. V. Beridze also published monograph on the 15th-19th cc. epitaphii, number of articles on the prominent Georgian artists (D. Kakabadze, L. Gudiashvili, N. Pirosmanashvili); in collaboration with N. Ezerskaya he is the author of a book on the 19th-20th cc. Georgian fine art; he dedicated a number of articles to the historiography of Georgian art. 

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Tinatin Virsaladze

(1907, Tbilisi – 1985, Tbilisi) Art historian, researcher of the medieval Georgian mural painting. In 1924, after leaving school she went to Academy of Arts, Department of Painting and, in parallel, she studied at the Tbilisi University, Department of History, which she graduated from in 1929. She took her post-graduate course in Leningrad. Her supervisor was a well-known Byzantine scholar Dimitri Ainalov. She worked as a Head of Department at the “Metekhi” Museum of Fine Art. She was one of the founders of the Chubinashvili Institute of History of Georgian Art.   From 1941 till the end of her life, she worked at the Chubinashvili Institute of History of Georgian Art, for a quarter of a century she headed Fine Arts Department and then Medieval Fine Arts Department. She was closely connected with the heritage protection as a scientific consultant of the mural painting restoration projects.   Her works were of a crucial significance for the study of the medieval Georgian mural painting, identification of its historical stages, regional schools of painting and certain peculiarities of individual monuments. At the same time she devoted many of her works to the study of the 19th and 20th cc. Georgian fine art.   High was her authority not only among the Georgian scholars, but the researchers of the Byzantine and entire East-Christian art.

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Nicholas Severov (Nordman)

(1887, Tbilisi – 1957, Kiev)  Architect, Historian of Architecture, Member of the Academy of Architecture of the USSR. He graduated from the Petersburg Civil-Engineering Institute (1915).  In 1918-1948 he worked in Tbilisi (1935-1948 – Chairman of the Union of Georgian Architects). In 1948 he moved to Kiev. He was one of the founders of Tbilisi Academy of Fine Arts and its Professor (1922-1948). From 1942 he was Head of the Department of Art History of the Institute of Georgian Art History.  N. Severov took an active part in the study and recording of the ancient Georgian architecture. He had publications on a number of most significant Georgian churches (Samtsevrisi, “Bagrati chuch” in Kutaisi, Samtsevrisi), he is the author of the first illustrated book on ancient Georgian architecture.  Great is his contribution to the measuring and recording of monuments (Nekresi, Shiomgvime, church of the Holy Cross in Mtskheta, Tsromi, Kumurdo, Martvili, Alaverdi, Nikortsminda and many others). He also measured monuments of old secular architecture, residential houses in Tbilisi, etc. He was the first to elaborate methodology of analytical graphical recording of monuments, displaying their historical layers.   N. Severov’s activity as an architect was also very intensive. He is the author of many public buildings and residential houses in Tbilisi and other cities of Georgia – reconstruction of S. Janashia State Museum of Georgia in 1929, King Tamara’s bridge, the “Rustaveli” Cinema and many others. He won state awards.  N. Severov’s creative life was tightly linked with Georgia, where he was always highly appreciated.  

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Levan Muskhelishvili

(1900, Tbilisi – 1942, Tbilisi)  Historian and Archaeologist. In 1918-1923 he went to University in Germany. In 1927 he graduated from the Tbilisi State University, Faculty of History. In 1930-1931 he took part in the archaeological expedition in Nokalakevi. From 1931 he worked at the State Museum of Georgia, in the Department of Archaeology as a Researcher, and from 1936 as an Academic Secretary of the Museum of Shota Rustaveli and His Epoch. From 1940 he was the Acting Director of the same Museum. From 1941 he worked in the Institute of Georgian Art History as a Head of the Department of  History of Material Culture.  L. Muskhelishvili’s  name is linked with the beginning of planned archaeological excavations of Georgian medieval monuments and their further development. He headed and participated in the excavations on the territory of Bolnisi Sioni church (1936), under his supervision excavations of the Dmanisi city-site (1936-1937), Geguti castle (1937), Gudarekhi settlement-site (1938), Mashavera gorge (1937) were begun. Muskhelishvili published works on the ancient Georgian inscriptions of Samshvilde, Sioni and Svetitskhoveli in Mtskheta, précised their dates and identified historical persones.  L. Muskhelishvili made an important contribution to the study of the history of Georgian architecture. Apart from purely historical works, he published articles on the monuments that had been unknown before, besides, he published old texts containing significant terminology and  information on the construction activities.

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Levan (Leo) Rcheulishvili

(1909, vill. Khovle – 1986, Tbilisi)  Art Historian, prominent scholar of the Georgian architecture, pedagogue, public figure, Honoured Artist of Georgia (1954). Having graduated from the Civil Engineering Institute of Georgia (1932) he started to work at the Art Museum “Metekhi” (1936) and in 1941-1986 was senior researcher at the Institute of History of Georgian Art; in 1954-1986 he was Head of the Department of Art History and Theory at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts, Professor of the same Academy.   L. Rcheulishvili studied medieval ecclesiastical and secular architecture, creative activity of the 20th c. Georgian artists. He was actively involved in the heritage protection activities. Great is his contribution to the measuring and graphical recording of the monuments of architecture. L. Rcheulishvili was one of those who had established and strengthened scholarly and ethical traditions of the Institute of History of Georgian Art. 

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Ruda (Ruda) Mepisashvili

(1913, Esentuki – 2002, Tbilisi)  Art Historian, Prof. Dr. (1971), Honoured Artist of Georgia (1982). Having graduated from the Transcaucasian Industrial Institute, specialty – architecture (1936), she started to work at the Institute of History of Georgian Art (1941); her entire scholarly activity was connected with this research centre.   R. Mepisashvili’s studies are mainly dedicated to the medieval Georgian architecture. She is the author of significant monographs on the architecture of diverse historic regions of Georgia and Georgian art in general. She has greatly contributed to the recording of Georgian architectural sites and was actively involved in the heritage protection activities.  

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Vakhtang Tsintsadze

(1915, Tbilisi – 1993, Tbilisi)  Architect, Honoured Artist of Georgia (1967), Laureate of the Shota Rustaveli State Prize of Georgia (1987) and other state awards, scholar of the Georgian architecture. In 1936 he graduated from the Industrial Institute of Georgia, Civil Engineering Department, specialty – architecture. Since 1941 he was closely connected with the activities of the Institute of History of Georgian Art and since 1945, was its staff member. V. Tsintsadze took active part in the expeditions organised by the Institute, since 1974 he was the Head of the Scholarly Documentation and Publication Department. Since 1972 he lectured at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts.  W. Tsintsadze worked on the heritage protection problems. He is the author of the scholarly-analytical measured drawings and restoration projects of numerous Georgian architectural monuments (Nekresi, “Bagrati church” in Kutaisi, church of the Holy Cross in Telovani, Geguti fortress, Kvatakhevi church, etc.). W. Tsintsadze was a Honorary Member of the International Academy of Architecture. He is buried in Mtskheta, in the courtyard of Samtavro church. 

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Zacharias Maisuradze

(1912, Tbilisi – 1971, Tbilisi)  Ceramic designer, Honoured Artist of Georgia (1967). One of the prominent representatives of the Georgian ceramic art; subject-matter of his works is linked with the Georgian folklore – fairy tales. Z. Maisuradze received his education at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts (1932-1938), where he later on lectured (1939-1959). His keen interest towards old Georgian ceramics resulted in his close affiliation with the Institute of History of Georgian Art, where he worked in 1944-1971 and headed Minor Arts Department.  Works: series “Stags”, 1952-1960 (Museum of Fine Arts, Georgian National Gallery); compositions of the Georgian fairy tales theme (minor plastics, 1952-1955), decorative panel “Harvest”, 1953 (Museum of Fine Arts); “Berikaoba”, decorative composition on ceramic tiles, 1957-1959, Georgian National Gallery. 

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Niko Chubinashvili

(1908, Leipzig – 1993, Tbilisi)  Art Historian, Prof. Dr., studied medieval Georgian architecture and wood carving, modern architecture and sculpture, team-member and consultant of monuments restoration projects. He studied at the Construction Institute of Georgia. In 1941 he finished his post graduate studies at the Tbilisi State University, specialty: art history. For several years he worked at the Design-Construction agencies as an architect and later, as a researcher at the Vardzia Museum-Reserve.   From 1945 he was staff member of the G. Chubinashvili Institute of History of Georgian Art. He had published number of noteworthy monographs, participated in the expeditions for graphical recording of monuments throughout Georgia; he has measured numerous significant Georgian churches (Svetitskhoveli, Ruisi, Gudarekhi, Bedia, Samtavisi, Samshvilde and many others). Great is his contribution to the protection and restoration of the Georgian architectural monuments. 

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Sara Barnaveli

(1902, Telavi – 1984, Tbilisi)  Art Historian, Prof. Dr. (1972), Honoured Scientist of Georgia (1978). In 1925 she graduated from the Tbilisi State University, Faculty of History. Since 1941, all her life, she worked at the Institute of History of Georgian Art; in 1972-1984 she was Head of the Minor Arts Department.  For decades S. Barnaveli studied sygelions and literary sources, especially the so called trousseau books, as sources bearing evidence of the material culture. Major sphere of her research was minor plastics, namely glyptics. In her works she examined unique samples of the Georgian glyptics, based on the stylistic analysis and vast historical context, she presented an interesting overall picture of development of this important branch of the Georgian art. She had studied and published old Georgian historic documentation linked with the history of construction in Georgia. 

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