The Three Sisters
Sisters of Polish descent living in Georgia in the beginning of the 20th century, left behind important examples of modernism in the history of the Georgian art with their outstanding handwriting.
With magnificent appearance and terrible fortune... Valentina's brother Pavel Florensky came to Tbilisi In the early 20th century. His friend Sergei Troistky was with him. Both young men planned to become priests but... Valentina and Sergei fell in love and soon thoughts of an ecclesiastical life were abandoned. In the summer of 1909, Sergei Troistky and Valentina Florenskaya had a wedding ceremony in the church of Alexander Nevsky. But as always, perfection cannot be permanent and is destined to be short-lived. On November 2, 1910, the city was burning up with news of a terrible tragedy: During a lecture, Sergei Troistky was killed by a student.
Crown of Thorns (1910/1914)Art Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
"... I wanted so much to forget everything and paint in oblivion. When you draw (after praying), you are connected to God and it is nice to reveal your dream on paper”.
Valentina could not get over from the loss of her husband: “I know it will be more and more difficult for me to live in this world. I’m ready to carry my cross if the Lord does not abandon me. It’s enough just to believe that it will be a light in another place, where I will see my Seriozha...", she wrote to her brother Pavel Florensky.
Lizard (1910/1914) by Valentina (Olga) FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Valentina’s peculiar self-flagellation caused an unsurprising outcome: an inherited disease strengthened in her body, which she refused to treat, and after four years, the 20-year-old Valentina passed away from tuberculosis, on the anniversary of the day her husband was killed.
Fairy in roses (1915/1920) by Raisa FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Despite suffering from a terminal illness one would never
see regret or anger in Raisa's eyes; vice versa, she seemed always calm and
peaceful, as if ever ready to move to the next world. She entered in the world of
art through icon-painting and later mastered painting and engraving too. She
painted with the aspiration of symbolism. Valentina was her older sister and had a huge influence on Raisa’s creativity.
In Raisa’s creativity, there might be some reflections of the Russian school representative Viktor Vasnetsov, though one of her most distinguished drawings “Fairy Roses” is an ideal mixture of symbolism and the colour palette of Klimt: like in Gustav’s “The Kiss”, the nude figure of a woman is presented with grace, her forehead illuminated with two rays as she holds a lily flower with buds - symbol of the innocence of the Mother of God.
The chimney fairy (1915/1920) by Raisa FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
The works of Raisa Florenskaya perfectly express the artist's inner world. The painting “Fairy of the Chimneys” reminds of gracious characters from Mark Chagall’s “Walkers”and “Lovers”.
Sad knight (1915/1920) by Raisa FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Painted with the pre-Raphaelite spirit, “Sad Knight” reveal nostalgic but fluent plots.
Raisa is a master of colour, and by using silver and gold as mediums, she perfectly reveals the world of antique or biblical characters. In most cases, shining gold and silver add special concluding strokes to the harmonic compositions. Despite the small size, the painter’s works are certainly monumental.
Psychologist, teacher and painter by profession, Elizabeth was the eldest of the Florenskaya sisters. In Elizabeth’s paintings, the development of her artistic creativity is clearly visible. She initially painted colourful still-lives and objects of applied art.
A monstrous hen (1914/1920) by Elizabeth FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Following her sister Valentina’s tragedy, her style changed dramatically and instead of art objects, she started to paint strange creatures, like those seen in Francisco Goya’s “Dark Drawings” series. Her art from this period of time reveals how gutted and anguished she was.
Limbless giant (1914/1920) by Elizabeth FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Elizabeth might not have been under the influence of Goya’s creativity, and she may not have seen the works of the Spanish painter at all, but, apparently, spiritual crisis and emotional suffering are almost identically expressed by these two artists on both paper and canvas.
Devourer of infants (1918-04-10) by Elizabeth FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
We see the gibbetted bodies as much in Elizabeth’s paintings as in Goya’s “Disaster of Trouble”. In Elizabeth’s drawings, the snail devours the body of its infant just as Saturn does his son in Goya’s masterpiece.
Extraordinary creatures (1918-04-09) by Elizabeth FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
With their shadowed eyes and fantasy figures, the characters of Florenskaya’s paintings look like demons from “Fantastic Vision” and “Atropos”.
Long nosed goblin (1919-04-29) by Elizabeth FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Bad dream (1921-05-21) by Elizabeth FlorenskayaArt Palace of Georgia - Museum of Cultural History
Considerably enough, Eliszbeth Florenskaya is the only artist in Georgian art to have expressed an artist’s emotional tragedy and spiritual crisis in this specific way.
The narrative was created based on George Kalandia’s book “Florensky-The Charm of Multinational Georgia"