Famous Georgian painter's tomb allegedly found

Niko Pirosmani simply referred to as Nikala was a Georgian primitivist painter.
Agenda.ge, 01 Jul 2014 - 09:43, Tbilisi,Georgia

The final resting place of one of Georgia’s most famous painters might have been discovered.

While it was not confirmed, the Georgian Ministry of Culture believed it was highly likely the tomb of Niko Pirosmani [Pirosmanashvili] had been found.

The ancient tomb at Kukia Cemetery in Tbilisi was discovered by local journalist Maia Ramishvili, who came across the grave while she was paying her respects at the cemetery.

"Maia Ramishvili’s presumptions are based on some arguments. She says she saw the tomb about month ago at Kukia Cemetery and she refers to some very clear facts in her judgment,” said Culture Minister Guram Odisharia.

Ramishvili invited Odisharia, two folklorists, a historian, writer and an art specialist to investigate the gravesite and determine whether or not it was the famous painter’s final resting place.

The Ministry said it was possible the grave belonged to Pirosmani and there were several signs that supported this, including an inscription on the tombstone that reads – "O Lord, have mercy Nikala!”

The famous poet was referred to as Nikala by his contemporaries.

Ramishvili did not say she had definitely found Pirosmani’s tomb but said the stone needed to be studied scientifically so a conclusion could be made.

"I would not call this fact but an argument. In arguments I mean the stone which was common for lower social strata in old times. Also, it was quite ancient and adult men and most importantly, engraving on one side about Nikala is depicted in the stone,” Ramishvili said.

If the tomb turned out to be the final resting place of Pirosmani, Ramishvili said this would be great, important news for the country. She said Pirosmani was one of Georgia’s most talented painters and was acknowledged internationally for his work.

But before any action can be taken to begin studying the tomb, authorities must gain special permission.

Minister of Culture Guram Odisharia said the case was very interesting and promised the Ministry would offer support to researchers.

Pirosmani is depicted on the one Georgian lari bill.

Pirosmani’s paintings were influenced by the social conditions of his time and place. There are many works about merchants, shopkeepers, workmen, and noblemen groups. Pirosmanashvili was fond of nature and rural life. He rarely employed city landscapes. He made many animal paintings. He was the only Georgian animalist.

Farmer with a Bull by Niko Pirosmani, 1916

He developed an international reputation when he became admired as a naive painter in Paris and elsewhere. He inspired a portrait sketch by Pablo Picasso. Exhibitions of his work have been held in Kiev, Warsaw, Paris (The Louvre), Vienna, Nice and Marseilles, Tokyo, Zurich, Turin, Istanbul, Minsk, Vezelay and Vilnius.