Saturday, May 31, 2014

Art Post: Niko Pirosmani

Nikoloz Aslanis Dze Pirosmanashvili, or Niko Pirosmani, was a self-taught Georgian painter (from the Georgia that's a nation in the Caucuses, not the Georgia that's part of the US,) who lived from 1862 to 1918. He must have truly loved to paint, for he lived most of his life in utter obscurity, trading his paintings for food and shelter. He was "discovered" by the art world only toward the end of his life, and doesn't seem to have really understood what all of that fuss and bother meant. Poor Niko got sick, and with no one to look after him, soon died.

Today, Pirosmani's art is well-respected in his homeland, and he graces the Georgian 1 Lari bill:

For more information on Porosmani, I recommend his biography on Olga's Gallery (an art website,) his Wikipedia Page, or Soviet Life Magazine, 1969. (Why was I reading Soviet Life? Research.)

Anyway, here are some of his paintings I enjoyed:

A Boy Carrying Food

Threshing Yard, Evening


Gate Keeper

Feast in a Gazebo

Shepherd in a Sheepskin Coat on a Red Background

Tatar--Camel Driver

Train in Kakhetia

Donkey Bridge

Signboard: Wine Pub

Party by the River Zkheniszkali

Kakhetia Sagas, Alazan Valley

Kakhetia Sagas, Alazan Valley, detail

Kakhetia Sagas, Alazan Valley, detail


Hunting Scene with a View of the Black Sea

The Tiflis Funicular

Prayer in a Village

Robber with a Stolen Horse

Wedding in the Old-Time Georgia

Grape Harvest Feast

Shamil with a Bodyguard

Shepherd with Flock

More of Pirosmani's paintings.


  1. Kind of like Emily Dickinson; a recluse whose work was not celebrated until later. Interesting that he's become such an icon in Georgia.

    1. Yes, though in Pirosmani's case, I suspect he was more isolated than reclusive. Just doing his thing, with no idea that the outside world had noticed or even cared about his art. A pity he died the way he did. He probably had many more paintings left to paint!