Georgian artist Pirosmani’s most authentic photo discovered
30 July, 2016
Georgian artist Pirosmani’s most authentic photo discovered
Almost everyone knows or at least many have heard about famous Georgian painter Niko Pirosmani (Pirosmanashvili) who lived in the 19-20th centuries and earned his living by painting the walls of restaurants in Tbilisi, though no one knew exactly how the minimalist Georgian artist looked like, if we don’t take into consideration Niko’s portraits by outstanding Georgian artist Lado Gudiashvili and his photo taken badly and published in the newspaper “Sakhalkho Sakme” (Public Affair) in 1916. However, recently a photo
has been spread, and it is thought to depict the lonely artist’s real appearance. As it has been reported, the image dates back to 1911 and it is a still from the film depicting the burial ceremony of a great Georgian businessman Davit Sarajishvili, who introduced the culture of making cognac to Georgia. By that time it was a common ritual to bury important public figures and outstanding people through public marching. Correspondingly hundreds of people gathered to pay respect and to see off the deceased, and to our surprise Niko appeared there as well. Based on the old chronicles, it was extremely hot and the people were offered cold Laghidze Waters (Georgian lemonade) for free in every 200 meters starting from Sioni Cathedral to Didube pantheon, under Mitropane Laghidze’s order (Georgian entrepreneur and pharmacist known for inventing Georgian lemonade). It is noteworthy that the artist’s burial place is lost and a symbolic grave is planned to be set up at Mtatsminda Pantheon. Niko ended his life in poverty and earned recognition only after his death.

Portraits of Niko Pirosmani by Lado Gudiashvili

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Niko sketched by Pablo Picasso in 1972
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Related stories:

Who was the author of Niko Pirosmani's only surviving photo

Pirosmani’s symbolic grave to be set up at Mtatsminda Pantheon

World’s smallest museum is in Tbilisi – Place where Pirosmani lived

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