- Anthony Parton
[Pirosmani, Nikolay (Aslanovich)]
(b Mirzaani, E. Kiziki region, Kakheti, ?17 May 1862; d Tbilisi, April 7, 1918).
Georgian painter. He was orphaned at an early age and brought up by his father’s employer in Tbilisi. He worked first as a brakesman on the Transcaucasian Railway, then, following a brief and financially unsuccessful foray into business, he became an itinerant painter of signboards, windows and murals, working mainly for the shopkeepers in and around Tbilisi. He had no special schooling and evolved his own naive style based upon the colours, rhythms and spatial concepts of Georgian folk art. His animal paintings and portraits are particularly impressive. His Carousal series (c. 1906; Tbilisi, Mus. A. Georg.) depicts traditional aspects of Georgian life.
In the summer of 1912 Pirosmanashvili was ‘discovered’ by members of the Donkey’s Tail group, for whom he was, as Benedict Livshits wrote, ‘a second [Douanier] Rousseau’. The group members appreciated and collected his work for its spontaneous and naive qualities, and within a year they had propelled the obscure Georgian to fame. In ...