Georgia is situated in the southern part of the Caucasus and is known for its remarkable past. The country has had its state system for more than three thousand years. During many centuries Georgia experienced political and cultural influence of the big states.
However, in spite of this fact, it has survived its originality. Cultural links and means of communication helped Georgia to develop and form its art as an original and inimitable phenomenon. This process is especially noticeable after the fourth century, when Christianity was declared as a state religion in Georgia.
Georgian monumental painting and iconography deserves a great attention, the pattern of which we meet after early feudal age. In Georgia the period of the iconoclasm didn’t take place and therefore the culture developed quite progressively in spite of the wars.
The masterpieces of Georgian mural painting are frescos of David Gareji Lavra, Svanetian Ancient Church frescos, Atenis Sioni, Betania, Kintsvisi, Timotesubani and Tabakini church frescos. They are considered to be the treasure of the art of the Christian world.
The art in Georgia was developing during centuries, but the establishment of the Bolshevik policy, put an end to this process. Since the end of the 70s and the beginning of the 80s of the XX century, the revival of this process has dramatically taken off.
At the end of the 90s, with the blessing of His Holiness Ilia the Second, Catholicos Patriarch of All Georgia, St John the Theologian Iconpainters Brotherhood was created under the leadership of Lasha Kintsurashvili.
The Brotherhood has accomplished mural paintings of Georgian Orthodox frescos. They have created huge number of the icons in Georgia and abroad. The group works only with the natural mineral paints. Because of this, there is a department of the experienced geologists who conduct researches in the different parts of Georgia, especially in mountainous regions, where they study pigments in the soil and the rocks. With their great help the brotherhood tries to return an old glory to the traditional mural painting.
Recently new practice has been implemented in some countries. The iconographers paint frescos in the studios and then stick them to the walls of the church. This new method is inadmissible for the Brotherhood. According to the old Orthodox traditions the painter should work in church because while doing so he becomes the part of the space itself. Also, during this process the painter acquires a great feeling of responsibility.
St John the Theologian Iconpainters Brotherhood offers newly created frescos of capital city’s two Cathedrals, St. Vakhtang Gorgasali Chapel in Sioni Cathedral and St. John the Baptist church in Holy Trinity Cathedral.
The first church which was painted by the Brotherhood was Martkopi Transfiguration Monastery, St George’s church. It was accomplished during the summer of 1992. Since that time, many churches have been painted in Georgia and in Moscow. (For example, St George’s Church on Bolshaya Gruzinskaya St. in Moscow).
As we have mentioned above, if we don’t take Soviet period into consideration, there was no stopping in the development of the Georgian monumental painting and icon writing. Because of this fact, the elements which had been characteristic for the period of iconoclasm appeared occasionally in the different parts of Georgia. Such patterns are found in St. Barbara’s Church, situated in Svanetian village Kala, in Tabakini St George Monastery in Imereti and others.
St John the Theologian iconpainters Brotherhood works in archaic style as well, which is combined with a folk method. Navtlugi St Ketevan Tortured Church is painted in this way. The painting of the church was accomplished in June 2003.
We are offering you the churches painted by the members of the Brotherhood under the guidance of Lasha Kintsurashvili.