Once upon a time there was an artist Niko.
It is said that one day early in the morning to the hotel where the actress Margherita de Sevres lived, arbs and tarantas, laden with freshly cut roses, stretched in a string. And the one who was called a shopkeeper Nikolai Pirosmanashvili was walking alongside - however, now, having sold the shop and bought “a whole sea of flowers” all over Tiflis, he became a beggar and homeless and his name was abbreviated: Niko Pirosmani ...
Painting Pirosmani "Actress Margarita"
In March 1909, a poster appeared on the curbstones in Ortachalsky Garden: “News! Theater "Belle Vu". Only seven touring the beautiful Margarita de Sevres in Tiflis. A unique gift to sing chanson and at the same time to dance cake walk! ”They say that when he saw Margarita on the stage, Nikolai Pirosmanashvili (the owner of a dairy shop, who was fond of painting in his free time) exclaimed:“ Not a woman, but a pearl from a precious casket! ” presented in several versions. First: Margarita saw a flower carpet from the window of her hotel, which occupied the entire pavement.Dumbfounded, she said to Nicholas: “Did you sell your shop to give me flowers? I will never forget this, my beautiful knight! ”And a few days later she accepted the courtship of a rich man and left Tiflis. Another option is this: having sent Margarita “a million scarlet roses”, Pirosmanashvili went to feast for the last pennies in Dukhan. Moved by the actress ordered to give him a note in which she asked to come. Nicholas was found, but he could not tear himself away from wine, and when he nevertheless came to the hotel, Margarita was no longer there - the tour ended, and her theater left, God knows where. They also say that when 85 “primitive” Pirosmani masterpieces were exhibited in the Louvre in 1969, an old woman would come to the film “Actress Margherita” every day. In the end, someone noticed the similarity of her eyes with the eyes on the portrait. Yes, it was an old Margarita de Sevres! ..
So actually Marguerite de Sevres looked
... Given that the second version (as Pirosmani could not leave Dukhan in time and missed her happiness) is quite consistent with the character of this person, even she is not true. Because all this romantic love story of a Georgian artist and French actress is, alas, just a legend, and is invented from the first to the last word.The researchers of Pirosmani are confident that in reality there was neither a sale of property, nor roses, nor even a personal acquaintance of the artist and actress (it seems that the portrait was written not from life, but from a playbill). The story of the “million scarlet roses” was composed by the writer Konstantin Paustovsky, who visited Tbilisi several years after the artist’s death and fell in love with his paintings, especially the very portrait of actress Margarita. But in fact, in the life of Niko Pirosmani there was a completely different drama, and the reason for her was not a greedy lover at all, but several disinterested friends who sincerely wanted to help him ...
"Zhatelmen" from dukhan
A young avant-garde artist, Kirill Zdanevich, persuading his friend, also an artist, Mikhail Le Dantu, to go traveling to Georgia, rested on eastern exoticism. Zdanevich himself was born in Georgia, not far from Tiflis, but he had not been at home since childhood and remembered her dimly.
Having entered Tiflis from the Moscow outpost, the young people were initially disappointed: no Eastern exotics, no Caucasian flavor. The Sololaki Tiflis district was indistinguishable from the 15th arrondissement of Paris, and Golovinsky Avenue, spacious and straight, looked like some kind of rue de l’Ancien Comedie.An elegant crowd floated slowly: the ladies in fashionable hats with feathers and umbrellas, men in cylinders, with canes - they rolled in smart carriages, strolled on foot and entered rich restaurants decorated in modern fashionable style. It served dishes prepared in the French manner, and French wines.
Golovinsky Avenue (now Rustaveli Avenue) in Tiflis, beginning of the 20th century
Tiflis on the other hand, the beginning of the twentieth century
However, for those who entered Tiflis not from Moscow, but from the Erivan Gate, the city seemed completely different: dark, crooked streets, now climbing uphill, now going down steeply, saklya molded onto a sakla. Women are almost invisible (they are not allowed to wander the streets without work), men are dressed in blue chokes. The signs of the dukhan are motley, the zurna and the street organ are sounding, Suliko, Alaverdi, Marusya poisoned herself and even Seven Forty are singing in slender Georgian polyphony ... A young Kakhetian majari pours like a river, for days at a time Kinto lives at tables, lively, merry idlers.
Zdanevich and Le Dantu, finally finding the desired Caucasian exotics, froze on Vokzalnaya Street in front of the outlandish signboard of the Varyag duhan: on it a scene of a naval battle was written with amazing talent.So, probably, a person who has just begun to see his sight after blindness sees the world ... It does not seem like anything! Then in other beer houses we saw the “Couture of the Kinto”, the “Black Lion” ...
Sign "Beer Beetle"
Kirill Zdanevich managed to find the author a little later - when his brother, the futurist poet Ilya Zdanevich, came to him from Tiflis from St. Petersburg. The brothers went around a couple of duhans in search of this man, and here he is in front of them: tall, slouching, but at the same time surprisingly elegant, looking like he was about fifty, with a face painted on Georgian icons. Niko's character turned out to be strange. He often sat still and looked at one point with unseeing eyes. Sometimes I was very suspicious, I asked: “Why do you give me hospitality, if you have no ulterior motives?” I could not get offended at what, shout. At the same time, he did not boast his talent (he agreed, for example, to paint the wall or write the name of the street). When he took the brush in his hands, the drinking companions always interfered. For example, someone said: “Niko, dear! Nice picture, but draw a hare on it! ”Niko replied:“ No, I don’t need a hare here. Why the hare? ”-“ Niko, draw for my respect! ”And the artist agreed.He never bargained with anyone, giving his paintings both for 30 rubles, and for a ruble, and for a penny plate of lobio with a glass of vodka (Pirosmani had never worked sober). Often he told customers: “I don’t want to draw for money. Buy me a better paint ”(he wrote in English, quite expensive). By the way, the black, oily-matt, pimply film produced for some complex technical needs, on which he painted most of his paintings, also cost a lot (drawing home-made paints on oilcloths that allegedly covered tables in dukhans is nothing more than a part of the myth about Niko Pirosmani). After many years, it turns out that the technical oilcloth, which Pirosmani invented to use for paintings, is more “tenacious” than the canvas! And the paints on it from time to time are not covered with small cracks - craquelure. However, Niko did not seem to think at all about the immortality of his works. Equally inspired, he painted on short-lived tin sheets of signs, and on the walls, and even with his finger on the misted glass.
So was Niko when he was found by Zdanevichi
Pirosmani spent the night under the bags in a corner of some dukhan, then on a bench in the summer garden - Ortachalsky or Veriysky.At the same time, he never lost his dignity or freshness of a suit. In winter and summer, he wore a well-worn but still elegant jacket, a shirt (always snow-white!) Wearing a hat, tie or scarf, pants and a soft felt hat that local men (who wore small felt hats, or hats, or peaked lamb hats, or kartuza) called "cylinder". The real cylinder decorated the head of a little man painted on the lid of a self-made wooden small suitcase in which Niko kept all his possessions (mainly paints) - the most erudite visitors of Dukhani called this “zatelemen”. Niko knew many poems, and in general it was felt that he was a bird of a different flight than the indigenous inhabitants of the poor quarters of Tiflis. He knew the Georgian and Russian letters, so that the signs painted by his hand were accompanied by the inscriptions: “Cold beer. Sawing and taking away "," Poor Shio in the basement of the shoots boots and galoshes of the shoots "," Long live the bread of the solo master! " ...
However, he never went to Golovinsky Prospect Pirosmani.The “European” and “Caucasian” Tiflis did not mix, as if separated by an invisible wall. But then the well-educated, well-dressed, well-educated Zdanevich brothers penetrated this wall ... Getting to know them unraveled something in Pirosmani’s soul. In addition, Ilya and Cyril assured the artist that his paintings will be a success with the educated public. “Batono Nikolai, you have no place among the ignorant Kinto and Dukhanists. Are they people of your circle? ”- Zdanevichi was saying. Pirosmani grinned: these two young people think that somewhere on earth there is a place for him and there is a circle of people that he has the right to call his ...
“Elisabeth, Kalantar, stop arguing with Nikolai! You know, he is unresponsive, ”said the eldest of the Kalantarovs' children, George, with a smile. He, like everyone in the family, was very fond of Nicholas, whom he sincerely considered his brother, and tried to protect his painfully sensitive soul. And of course George did not intend to offend him: what is offensive in the word “unanswered” ?! But the pale cheekbones of a 10-year-old boy erupted in indignation: “I’m unanswered! Meek! I'm not like that,how are you all! After all, I am not a real Kalantarov! ”Strange as it may seem, but it was a terrible blow for him - even the death of his own parents was not so acute for him.
Young Nikolai Pirosmanishvili
However, he was too small to understand anything when his father, a gardener on the estate of the widow Eprosina Kalantarova, suddenly died, and his mother soon died, leaving Nicholas and her sister Peputsa to be orphans. Soon his relatives took Peputsu to the village of Mirzaani, but for some reason they left him. The widow Kalantarova had six children of her own, and little Pirosmanashvili always played with them. "Enough space for the seventh," - judged Eprosine and took the orphan into her rich and enlightened family. For many years, Nikolai was almost happy there: “almost” - because from the moment he was called “unanswered,” the boy never for a moment left the consciousness that he was not a real Kalantar. He was not at all like everyone else! “Nikolai’s soul is thin, and his mind is sharp, and the boy is handsome, like a cypress,” explained the compassionate Eprosine to his acquaintances. - Only here it is weird. Not that a slacker, but not from this world. Lives like a bird, not looking at the past, not caring about the future.And he does not want to study! ”Even painting, which young Pirosmanashvili was very passionate about, he did not learn:“ One thing is salvation for him, ”Eprosine sighed,“ to marry a girl with a dowry ”...
... 1889 year. Nicholas is 27 years old. He was never able to adapt to any craft, and he still lives with the Kalantarovs, in their Tiflis house on Golovinsky Avenue, although Eprosina has not been around for a long time. And he finally decided to marry! It even seems to him that he is truly in love. In whom? To Elizabeth, your foster sister! Since she married a wealthy merchant Khankalamov, Nikolai has not seen her for several years, but now she is widowed. And let Elisabeth under forty, she grew sick and aged, but she is nee Kalantarova! Anyone who was born in this family seemed young to Pirosmanashvili inexpressibly beautiful ...
Elisabeth rejected in a very delicate manner, but Nicholas was still crushed. It was a second terrible blow: he again failed to become a full member of the family!
"Train in Kakheti"
Under the whip of St. George
Nikolai disappeared forever from the Kalantarovs' house, and those could not find him.He entered the service of the brake conductor of freight cars on the Transcaucasian railway. Standing on the open platform of the car, Pirosmanashvili drove the whole of Georgia: Imeretiya, Guria, Mingrelia ... We drove along the sea, through grape valleys, and through tunnels under the mountains. The longest of them, Suramsky, stretched for 4 kilometers, and Nikolay each time left it with bulging eyes, inhaling steamy smoke. Pirosmanashvili’s salary was 15 rubles a month - quite decent for a peasant son, but, of course, too little for landlady Kalantarova’s pupil (however, about Kalantarovs who loved and tortured him so much, Nikolai chose to forget) ... He was forever fined: 3 rubles for transportation of stowaway, for 2 - for failure to appear to the train, for 50 kopecks - for late arrival. “Born free like a bird,” Nikolai was simply not able to attend the service systematically. He threw bosses reports with requests for a transfer to another job, about family leave, for health reasons ... Wonderful man, blissful! On the railway, where everything should be clearly and punctually, this is not the place! When Pirosmanashvili filed a letter of resignation, the authorities gave him a great severance package for joy.With this money, he took Dimitru Alugishvili as a companion and started a milk shop. However, quite a bit of time will pass, and Nikolai will understand: among the shopkeepers, he also has no place ...
Another view of old Tiflis
... One night, Dimitru was awakened by wild cries, they came from Nikolai's room. Dimitra armed himself with a stick and rushed to the rescue of his companion - he, seemingly completely unscathed, shouted everything: “Save me!” Having calmed down a bit, he explained: “Saint George was just here. He stood at the head of my bed with a whip and said: “Do not be afraid! Don't be afraid! ”He often comes to me at night, and in the morning my hand stretches to draw.” Dimitra only sadly sighed. Wonderful man this Pirosmanashvili! And what did he do at the recent funeral of Dimitra's little daughter, Marusya? Shortly before the girl got sick, Nikolay became her godfather, and now she was gone, as was Nina, Dimitry's relative, in whom Pirosmanashvili was the best man at the wedding. “I envied the marriage and the birth of a child and brought misfortune,” Nikolay voted. At the cemetery, he fell to the ground, began to cry: “Marusya! My dove! I killed you! Here, we are all alive, and you lie here under the cross! ”Then he attacked the priest, calling him a devil, then suddenly he calmed down and said coldly:“ We will all die.No one will live forever. And there is nothing to cry here! ”Well, just a small child, not a man!
The next morning after the story of St. George, a poorly dressed country boy appeared at the shop and said that he had married Peputs Pirosmanashvili and Nikolai to him now relatives. Long grieved that he was alone in this world, Nikolai was delighted and went to Mirzaani. But does he, a city dweller, have a place in the village? It is good that they never married him there: Peputsa found a bride in a neighboring village, and Nikolay went to her own wedding, and a day later he showed up again in Mirzaani, in tears, angry. Pepuce explained: “I wanted to sacrifice a calf to St. George, they took it, they ate it themselves ... These villains laughed at me and expelled me. They said: "You're crazy! Why do you need to marry? ”It was all strange and improbable, but it was impossible to persuade Nicholas to think again. Having rebuilt his sister's house (a good one, with an iron roof, which had never happened in Mirzaani), he left.
This is how the piranak Pirosmanashvili was built, that every new insult (real or imaginary) widened the crack that existed between him and the rest of the world.And he returned to Tiflis even more eccentric than he was. “Yesterday I left a shop for Nikolai, so he left somewhere, the door was not locked, and all the daily earnings were gone! - Dimitra complained to the neighbors. - I ask him: dear, what happened? Do you know what he said? What he disgusted to trade! Where is it heard to trade was disgusting? "
Perhaps, in his place, Nicholas felt only in duhan. Here everything was arranged harmoniously and correctly, there was no place for human injustice, and there was no need to make any effort over yourself. The master of ceremonies leads a feast in the exact order, the conversation is informative, the singing is slim. Here Pirosmanashvili became an eloquent, kind and significant person among the same eloquent, kind and significant people. It ended with Nikolai taking his brushes with paints and completely disappeared from the shop. Since then, he became known as Niko Pirosmani. It was either 1900 or 1901 (at least 8 years before actress Margarita arrived in Georgia). Dimitra should be given justice, he was not indifferent to the fate of the companion eccentric, and he was ready to give him a ruble a day, but Nico did not come for a ruble.Many later offered Pirosmani to stay alive for good, in warmth and satiety. But he did not agree. In the end, the friends gave up: feeding somewhere, sleeping somewhere, painting their oilcloths, and thank God! It is clear that this person has his own way, and it is better not to interfere ...
Zdanevichi took the genial primitivist Niko seriously: they took four of his paintings to an exhibition in Moscow, Ilya wrote an article for the Caucasian Speech newspaper, another published an illustrated edition of Sakhalkho Purtzli (they put a reproduction of The Wedding in Kakheti and a photographic portrait Pirosmani himself). Niko read with surprise and pride about himself: “An artist whose work could glorify the nation and give it the right to participate in the current struggle for art. Understanding colors and using them put Pirosmanashvili in a row of great painters. ”
Portrait of Ilya Zdanevich
Soon young artists Lado Gudiashvili and Mikhail Chiaureli came to him. They donated 200 rubles to him, collected by the recently created Society of Georgian Artists, and invited to the first constituent meeting in an old mansion on Golovinsky Avenue with a white marble staircase, mirrors up to the ceiling, stucco, chandeliers of Venetian glass and candles in bronze candelabra.Having learned about this, the duhans who had previously loved Niko (“The angel lives in his hand,” one of them said) began to snort behind him: “I am also a great artist! Let him be glad that he is being fed! ”However, now it was not important! After all, in the old age for Pirosmani there was a place among the inhabitants of Golovinsky Avenue! All the same, as if Kalantarova called him to her!
Alas! Happiness was illusory. Three weeks after the first portrait of Pirosmani in Sakhalkho Purtzli, a second one appeared, caricatured - for the artist's humoristic nature they drew in a long shirt, from under which bare legs stick out. And next to the signature: “You need to learn, brother. After 20 years a good artist can come out of you, and then we will send you to an exhibition of young people. ” Even over the gray hair Niko was not afraid to laugh!
Another one of his few photos
To say that Pirosmani was offended is to say nothing. He was destroyed! Golovinsky Prospect became hated to him, and the area of dukhans and Sakley was alien. Niko, already painfully suspicious, now did not respond to greetings, walked the streets with his head down, did not sit at the common table in dukhan.A flock of boys began to run after him, shouting a meaningless teaser: “Pirosman! Pirosman! Draw me a donkey! ”To those who tried to support him, Niko complained bitterly:“ I was painted in a newspaper like a cat ... I don't want anything! My talent is tired. ” Even outwardly, Pirosmani sank: his jacket felt blue, the brim of his hat sagged, and the collar lost its inexplicable whiteness. The box with the resident has disappeared; instead of him there was some ugly back bag. Now Pirosmani constantly muttered something under his breath. It seems that these were the verses of his own composition: “You are my brother Nicola. What do you want this everyday fuss? The abode you will be paradise. And all you will be there, and you will live in one family with the archangels Michael and Gabriel. "
He lived for another year and a half, of which he was ill most of the time. The last time he was seen on the street in the days of the February Revolution: Niko hung a red ribbon with a Russian inscription “Freedom” on his chest. I met a friend, said, smiling: “They threw away my namesake! Right! Down with Nicholas! ”In the first days of April 1918, longtime friend Niko, shoemaker Archil Maysuradze found him in the basement of the house number 29 on Malokanskaya Street.Niko was lying on the floor, right on the bit brick, and to the question: “Who is there?” - he managed to answer: “I”. He already did not recognize anyone; The doctors at the hospital (Archil took him there on a phaeton) simultaneously diagnosed nephritis, pulmonary edema, liver congestion and cardiac muscle hypertrophy. Pirosmani no longer had any documents, and they wrote in a hospital book: "A man of 60, poor man, origin and religion is unknown." And since it is not known, the poor fellow did not find a place in the Christian cemetery, and they buried him without a funeral, no one knows where ...
P. S. Mikhail Chiaureli became a classic of Soviet cinema, Lado Gudiashvili - a famous artist, both lived a long life and died in honor. The Zdanevich brothers entered all sorts of encyclopedias as people who revealed the artist Pirosmani to the world. The diary of Ilya Zdanevich, which describes the details of the acquaintance with the great master, was distributed in huge circulation the next year after Niko’s death, and Pirosmani's brilliant oilcloths, bought up by his brothers from the duhans, pulled on a fortune.
P.S.S. A film about Pirosmani in my script can be viewed here.
"Doctor on a donkey"
"Friends of Begosa"
"Ortchalsky Beauty" (fragment of a diptych)
"Brother and sister"
"Cold Beer". Signboard
"Tatar - camel driver"
"Girl with a ball"
"Spree during the grape harvest" (fragment)
"The revel of the five princes"
"Lamb and Easter table with flying angels"
"The Easter Lamb"
"Big Marani in the forest"
"Phaeton at the dining room"
"Spree with a organ-grinder"
Author Irina Strelnikova
Source - drug-gorod.ru
And also my post about an amazing artist.