The history of Georgian art of painting goes back to the origin of the Georgian frescos. Georgia has a rich fresco-tradition dated back to the 4th century. From the 8th/9th century the art of frescos developed further, with the first schools of fresco-art in David Gareja and Tao-Klarjeti (this is today a part of the Turkish teritory). The motifs were strictly religious up to the 18th century, when also secular motifs started gaining ground in Georgian frescos.
Niko Pirosmanashvili (Pirosmani) is the most famous among Georgian painters. He was self-educated but unfortunately living a life in poverty; for periods his residence was under the stairs in a staircase. Pirosmani (1862- 1918) is regarded as a leading painter in the school of primitivism.
In the beginning of the 20th century the most prominent Georgian painters were Lado Gudiashvili, Shalva Kikodze,
Elene Akhvlediani and David Kakabadze. Kakabadze is regarded as the founder of modernism in Georgian art of painting. He was a good friend of Wassily Kandinsky and Kakabadze's theories was important for the development of Georgian art of painting in previous century.
From 1950-1970 monumentalism was develo- ped in Georgian art of painting, characterized by potraits and other realistic motifs suitable for the Comunist ideology. When the Soviet period ended, Georgian painters developed in different directions, creating a sphere of new creativity and variety. Edmond Kalandadze, Tengiz Mirzashvili, Zurab Nijaradze, Zurab Tsereteli and Avto Varazi are among the most recognized Georgian painters since 1950.
Today Georgian art of painting is characterized by many talented and gifted painters working in different directions and styles. Among the most popular painters in Georgia today are Irakli Par- jiani, Ilia Patashuri, Rusudan Petviashvili, Levan Lagidze, Karlo Katsharava, Gogi Lazarishvili, Gia Bugadze and Gogi Chagelishvili.