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Amashukeli Elguja

A sculptor, painter, graphic artist and book illustrator, Elguja Amashukeli, like other sculptors of his pleiade, authored the icons with strong national identity in monumental urban sculpture.  His kings as well as the symbolic and allegorical statuary:  Vakhtang Gorgasali, Mother of All Georgians, A Tiger and a Youngster, The Call of Knowledge (Mother-Tongue), the Memorial to the Fallen Sailors, as well as the Monument of Glory (Mother Kolkhi) and the Monument to Victory (Lionman)  represent today the landmark statues of the national-patriotic-style Soviet statuary in the cities of Tbilisi, Gori and Poti.

Amashukeli, like his colleague Merab Berdzenishvili, was a student of Nikoloz Kandelaki at the Tbilisi Academy of Arts. As a graduate sstudent he worked on  the equestrian statue of the founding king of Tbilisi, the legendary Vakhtang Gorgasali. At that time, the erection of monuments to Georgian kings and famous military leaders was still prohibited, however, with the beginning of the Thaw  (Ottepel) a national selection competition was announced for the project of the statue of Vakhtang Gorgasli in 1959, which was open to the general public  and attracted many visitors.  The project of Elguja Amashukeli received the first prize: the bronze statue was installed in 1967 on the Metekhi Plateau, in front of the church.

In 1958, as part of the celebration of the 1500th  anniversary of Tbilisi, Georgian artists and architects created many interesting projects. Amashukeli made a 20-meter wooden statue with a sword in one hand and a bowl of wine in another. In the 1960s, the author covered the sculpture with aluminum sheets, and in 1997 replaced it with a new one.

Elguja Amashukeli authored the Monument of Glory in Poti (The Mother of Colchis, bronze 1967), the relief of the portal of the Tbilisi metro station  Rustaveli (1965), the monuments to King Pharnavaz, Rafiel Eristavi and Niko Pirosmanashvili in Tbilisi (bronze, 1974-1975) , the Monument to Victory  in Gori (The Lionman, bronze, 1979).

His works in the field of painting, graphics and book illustration deserve special attention. He also authored the books: The Letters on Art (1984), The Sixth Sense (1987), and  Time the Creator (2000).

He served as secretary of the Union of Artists of the USSR (1984-89), and was a corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Arts (1988). He was awarded the titles of Honored Artist of the USSR (1965), People’s Artist of Georgia (1984-89), as well as the orders of the  Red Banner of Labor and the  Order of People’s Friendship. He was the  laureate of state awards of the USSR and the People’s Republic of Bulgaria.


Elguja Amashukeli
Date of Birth1928Date of Death2002Share