The Art Museum of Georgia (AMG) is one of the leading museums in the country of Georgia. It has around 140,000 items of Georgian, Oriental, Russian, and other European art.
A predecessor of the present-day museum, the National Art Gallery, was opened through the efforts of Western-educated young Georgian artists in Tbilisi in 1920. Out of it grew the Central Museum of Fine Arts, which was opened in Tbilisi in August 1923. Additional material came from various smaller collections. At the end of 1932, the museum was relocated in the center of the old city on the site of the 13th-century Metekhi church.
In 1945, following a special agreement between the Soviet and French governments, numerous works of art constituting the National Treasury of Georgia – manuscripts, metalwork, jewelry, enamels, paintings – evacuated by the Georgian government-in-exile following the 1921 Red Army invasion, were returned to Tbilisi and added to the museum’s collection. The eminent Georgian art historian Shalva Amiranashvili (after whom the museum is currently named), who was to head the museum for more than thirty years, played an important role in the formation of the collection.
The museum became officially known as the Art Museum of Georgia in 1950, the same year that it moved to the building it now occupies. Built in 1838 in neoclassic style, the building housed a theological seminary in the Imperial Russian period.
The museum was placed, at the end of 2004, under the joint administration with several other museums, forming the Georgian National Museum.
The spacious rooms of the museum building house the permanent collection, consisting of sections of Georgian, Oriental, Russian, and European art.
The most important of the museum’s collections is naturally that of Georgian art, illustrating the development of the national artistic culture over many centuries from ancient times to the present. The Oriental section comes next in its size and importance, and is one of the largest in the post-Soviet countries. Pieces of Persian fine arts, particularly Qajar art, is probably the most significant part of the Oriental collection. It includes several miniatures of Persian court artists – images of court beauties, and portraits of shahs and noblemen.
The museum often holds temporary exhibitions of works from other collections in the country and abroad.References:
Dating from the 15th century, Kisimul is the only significant surviving medieval castle in the Outer Hebrides. It was the residence of the chief of the Macneils of Barra, who claimed descent from the legendary Niall of the Nine Hostages. Tradition tells of the Macneils settling in Barra in the 11th century, but it was only in 1427 that Gilleonan Macneil comes on record as the first lord. He probably built the castle that dominates the rocky islet, and in its shadow a crew house for his personal galley and crew. The sea coursed through Macneil veins, and a descendant, Ruari ‘the Turbulent’, was arrested for piracy of an English ship during King James VI’s reign in the later 16th century.
Heavy debts eventually forced the Macneil chiefs to sell Barra in 1838. However, a descendant, Robert Lister Macneil, the 45th Chief, repurchased the estate in 1937, and set about restoring his ancestral seat. It passed into Historic Scotland’s care in 2000.
The castle dates essentially from the 15th century. It takes the form of a three-storey tower house. This formed the residence of the clan chief. An associated curtain wall fringed the small rock on which the castle stood, and enclosed a small courtyard in which there are ancillary buildings. These comprised a feasting hall, a chapel, a tanist’s house and a watchman’s house. Most were restored in the 20th century, the tanist’s house serving as the family home of the Macneils. A well near the postern gate is fed with fresh water from an underground seam. Outside the curtain wall, beside the original landing-place, are the foundations of the crew house, where the sailors manning their chief’s galley had their quarters.