Tbilisi Academy of Arts

The Apollon Kutateladze Tbilisi State Academy of Arts is located in one of the  city’s most significant historic buildings on Griboyedovi Street (formerly Komandant Street)–an eclectic complex combining elements of Baroque, Classical, and Persian revival. It was built on the site of a mid-19th century church designed by Grigol Ivanov. In the early 20th century, a shareholder in the block of buildings named Nino Qobulashvili commissioned architect Simon Kldiashvili to design a reconstruction. The building was restored in the early 1970s by art academy staff and students under the direction of George  Khalatov.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the building, however, is its interior–art historian Vakhtang Beridze attributes the lavish interior designs to Iranian master artists and craftsmen working in Tbilisi. The chambers are abundantly adorned with an entire repertoire of Persian motifs and architectural elements: medallions, calligraphy , stucco ornaments, muqarnas, musharabi stained glass, niches, and murals based on the traditions of Persian miniatures.
In 1869-1886, the local vice-regent recorded the building’s use as a clubhouse for the “Тифлииский  кружок” (“Tiflis Coterie”), and featured a hotel, library, theatre, and halls for dance and billiards. In the early 20th century, an art academy was established–the first public art school in the Caucasus.
Up until the height of the repressions in 1937, the building housed the art  studio of academy professor  Henry Hrinevski, the  ballet studio of  his spouse Maria Perin, the studio of professor Gigo Gabashvili, and the living apartments of Qobulashvili family. Later, the entire building was transferred  to the  ownership of the  art academy, which still functions today as Georgia’s premier institution for higher education in the arts.
To learn more about the history of the art academy and its historic structures, visit the TSA Academy Aid site, established to garner support for a much-needed restoration that began in 2012.
members of the building's first tenants, the avant-garde "Tiflis Coterie"

members of the building’s first tenants, the avant-garde “Tiflis Coterie”

Library

Library

Restaurant

Restaurant

Restaurant

Restaurant

Billiards room

Billiards room

Dance hall

Dance hall

second floor lounge

second floor lounge

2nd floor lounge

2nd floor lounge

Reading room

Reading room

2nd floor interior featuring intricate Persian-inspired details

2nd floor interior featuring intricate Persian-inspired details

second floor interior

second floor interior

Exterior (photo by Dimitri Ermakov)

Exterior (photo by Dimitri Ermakov)

Early art academy faculty

Early art academy faculty

Hall

Stair hall with mural

Studio space

Studio space

Faculty around the period of Stalinist repressions

Faculty around the period of Stalinist repressions

interior ornament detail

interior ornament detail

Anatomical sculpture class

Anatomical sculpture class

Ceiling detail

Ceiling detail

Anatomical drawing class (with model, top center!)

Anatomical drawing class (with model, top center!)

Studio

Studio

Exterior facade today

Exterior facade today

2nd floor interior today

2nd floor interior today

Interior murals today

Interior murals today

Interior door

Interior door

Entrance hall

Entrance hall

Ornament detail

Ornament detail

Ornament detail

Ornament detail

musharabi (latticework stained glass) detail

musharabi (latticework stained glass) detail

ceiling detail

ceiling detail

view of the courtyard before restoration work

view of the courtyard before restoration work

courtyard-facing balcony

courtyard-facing balcony

the Persian room today, filled with old skeletons used for anatomical drawing classes

the Persian room today, filled with old skeletons used for anatomical drawing classes

the Iran room filled with art-related debris

the Iran room filled with art-related debris

Saqartvelo2011 Pt1 010

damn Anthropologie's got nothing on this

damn Anthropologie’s got nothing on this

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