Sculptor, graphic artist and painter, Merab Berdzenishvili was one of the creators of the national patriotic style statuary which had originated by the late 1950s in the realm of the Georgian monumental sculpture. His powerful heroic works, predominantly influenced by the aesthetics of the Italian renaissance and mannerism, created the icons of the outstanding Georgian kings and mythological characters as well as revered the memory of the decisive historical events. His images were endeared to all bringing the nationwide fame to the sculptor.
Throughout his prolific creative life he received multiple highest-ranking awards and accolades established in the field of arts: he was the Honored Artist (1956) and People’s Artist (1978) of the Soviet Georgia, the People’s Artist of the Soviet Union (1987). He was awarded a number of state awards: in 1975 – the Rustaveli State Prize, in 2001 – the commemorative medal of Fridtjof Nansen, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate, and in 2014 – the “Hierophant of Art” title, the special award of the Georgian Ministry of Culture for outstanding contribution into arts.
He was also very active in teaching holding a professorship at the Tbilisi State Academy of Art and being a member-correspondent of the Georgian Academy of Sciences.
Merab Berdzenishvili graduated from the Tbilisi State Academy of Art under the guidance of Professor Nikoloz Kandelaki. Diploma work – “Rustaveli” cast in plaster (1956) is currently showcased at the National Library of the Parliament of Georgia. The same, bronze-cast monument was erected in Moscow in 1966.
Merab Berdzenishvili participated in the country’s national selection competition for the monument to King Vakhtang Gorgasli in 1958, where he received the second prize. (The first prize went to Elguja Amashukeli’s project).
He sculptured a monument to Medea (bronze) for the Bichvinta resort complex in 1968, and the equestrian statue to Giorgi Saakadze, the famous Georgian general of the 17th century which was erected in two geographical locations: in Kaspi (1971) and Tbilisi (1985).
In 1975, the monument to the King of Laos created by Merab Berdzenishvili was erected in Vientiane, the capital of Laos.
He was awarded the State Prize for the famous symbolic statue They will Grow Again (bronze, 1975) in Marneuli, and in 1995, together with the architect Tamaz Gabunia, he became the laureate of the same prize second time for Didgori sculptural-architectural complex, which memorizes the decisive Battle of Didgori, and is called the miraculous victory in Georgian chronicles.
The monuments created by him have become landmarks of Tbilisi: Muse (bronze, 1971), Davit Guramishvili (cast iron, 1965), Davit Aghmashenebeli (bronze, 1996).
In addition to the format of monumental sculpture, Merab Berdzenishvili worked prolifically in portrait sculpture, book graphics and poster genre.