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:
The Externsteine (Extern stones) is a distinctive sandstone rock formation located in the Teutoburg Forest, near the town of Horn-Bad Meinberg. The formation is a tor consisting of several tall, narrow columns of rock which rise abruptly from the surrounding wooded hills. Archaeological excavations have yielded some Upper Paleolithic stone tools dating to about 10,700 BC from 9,600 BC.
In a popular tradition going back to an idea proposed to Hermann Hamelmann in 1564, the Externsteine are identified as a sacred site of the pagan Saxons, and the location of the Irminsul (sacral pillar-like object in German paganism) idol reportedly destroyed by Charlemagne; there is however no archaeological evidence that would confirm the site's use during the relevant period.
The stones were used as the site of a hermitage in the Middle Ages, and by at least the high medieval period were the site of a Christian chapel. The Externsteine relief is a medieval depiction of the Descent from the Cross. It remains controversial whether the site was already used for Christian worship in the 8th to early 10th centuries.
The Externsteine gained prominence when Völkisch and nationalistic scholars took an interest in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. This interest peaked under the Nazi regime, when the Externsteine became a focus of nazi propaganda. Today, they remain a popular tourist destination and also continue to attract Neo-Pagans and Neo-Nazis.