On the Portraits of Catholicos-Patriarchs of Upper Iberia (Eastern Georgia) Anton I and Anton II
Catholicos-Patriarchs of All Eastern Georgia Anton I (Bagrationi)
(1720-1788) and St Anton II (c. 1764-1827) were important personas in the
18th century Georgian Orthodox Church. Their thirteen portraits, painted at
different times, have been preserved to date – four of Anton I and 9 of Anton
II. In fact, their portraits can be claimed to be the first original and natural
images of the Georgian Orthodox clergymen, with but a few earlier exceptions.
Unfortunately, because they were namesakes both as laymen and as clerics,
and succeeded each other as the Patriarchs of Mtskheta, their portraits were
mixed already in the 19th century and appeared mistakenly in the 19th and 20th
century publications. This article attempts to distinguish their portraits from
each other as well as from the portraits of other clerics (e.g. of St Tikhon of
Zadonsk). The paper presents the entire corpus of both Patriarchs’ portraits
(13 in all), the earliest dating back to the end of the 18th century (78 R) and the latest to the end of the 20th century (Ghia Bughadze). Most of them are preserved in the Georgian National Museum and in Russian museums.