Sculptor and teacher who, together with Yakob Nikoladze, is considered to be the founding father of the modern Georgian school of sculpture.
After graduating from Kutaisi Classical Gymnasium, Nikoloz Kandelaki went to St. Petersburg, where he enrolled as a free listener at the St. Petersburg Psycho-Neurological Institute. As a student he was actively involved in revolutionary movement because of what he was arrested and sent to prison for month and a half. After his release, together with David Kakabadze he joined the Dimitrov-Kavkazsky Art Studio. In parallel, he thoroughly acquainted himself with the Hermitage museum repositories.
During the First World War, he worked as the head of the Chancellery of the Red Cross Society in Rize, Turkey. He returned to Georgia in 1917. In 1922, he took part in the art exhibition where he showcased his sculpture. It attracted the attention of Joseph Charlemagne and Eugene Lanceray, the well-known artists and teachers of the newly founded Tbilisi Academy of Art. At the request of a special art commission, the government sent the newly discovered self-taught sculptor to the St. Petersburg Academy of Art.
Nikoloz Kandelaki returned to Georgia in 1926 and, together with Jakob Nikoladze, laid the foundation for the school of modern Georgian sculpture.
Starting from 1930, he headed the Department of Monumental Sculpture at the Tbilisi Academy of Art. Generations of Georgian sculptors: Tamara Abakelia, Valentin Topuridze, Elguja Amashukeli, Merab Berdzenishvili, Boris Tsibadze, Gogi Ochiauri, Juna Mikatadze and others worked in his studio.
Nikoloz Kandelaki worked mainly in the genre of the portrait sculpture in which he created about sixty works; he sculpted outstanding Soviet artists, scientists and ordinary workers. Miner from Imereti created in 1938 is among his best portraits.