Nino Simonishvili (Independent Scholar)
In the late 1880’s in the wake of the foundation of the second German Reich the German art historians were preoccupied with the form of the state and opposed attitudes towards the emergent Großstaat. The cosmopolitanism-nationalism polarity as diversity-in-unity has been most deeply implicated in the political language of art historical concept of the Baroque which began to be studied intensively. As the catalyst for an emerging interest in Baroque acted the rediscovered magnificent altar erected by the Hellenistic king Attalus I (269–197 B.C.E.) at Pergamon which was brought to Berlin in 1879. The ancient Baroque stimulated a Baroque revival in architecture and the rethinking of art historical evaluation of the Baroque. After the collapse of imperial Russia in 1917 and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Georgia in May 1918 the study of Georgian medieval art acquired a special importance, since Georgian medieval history was not connected to the Russian empire’s colonial politics in the Caucasus. This was the moment when art history was inextricably bound to the larger project of national identity. The definition of Georgian culture that revolved around nationalism had a direct application to architectural forms. The paper illustrates how in discussing the character of Georgian medieval architecture, has been using the art historical concept of Baroque with a focus on the painterly (malerisch) aesthetic category, which gained another meaning in a different political and artistic context.