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 Château de Fougères is an impressive castle with curtain wall and 13 towers. It had three different enclosures, first for defensive purposes, second for day to day usages in peacetime and for safety of the surrounding populations in times of siege, the last enclosure was where the keep was situated.
The first wooden fort was built by the House of Amboise in the 11th century. It was destroyed in 1166 after it was besieged and taken by King Henry II of England. It was immediately rebuilt by Raoul II Baron de Fougères. Fougères was not involved in the Hundred Years' War until 1449 when the castle was taken by surprise by an English mercenary. In 1488 the French troops won the castle back after a siege and the castle lost its military role.
In the late 18th century the castle was turned into a prison. The owner in this period was the Baron Pommereul. In the 19th century the outer ward became an immense landscaped garden. A museum was established in the Mélusine Tower. During the Industrial Revolution, a shoe factory set up shop in the castle grounds.
The City of Fougères took ownership of the Château in 1892. It had been a listed Historical Monument since 1862. A major campaign was launched to clean up the castle walls. While the castle had retained many of its original features, some of the curtain walls needed to be cleared and certain sections required major repairs. The changes made in the 18th century were "reversed," and the castle was finally open to visitors. The first campaign of archaeological excavations, conducted in 1925, unearthed the ruins of the manor house.
Since then, the Château de Fougères has welcomed tens of thousands of visitors every year. The castle's excellent state of conservation, and the historical interest of its architecture, make Fougères an invaluable window onto the Middle Ages. From great lords to simple builders, generations of inhabitants have left their mark on these walls.