Niko Pirosmani – Love story of Million Roses

After my  visit to beautiful Georgia and discovering there the artist Niko Pirosmani, i realized the need to share with you his amazing love story. It is romantic, naive and very very touching…

Niko Pirosmani

In March 1909, the beautiful French actress Margarita de Sevres had performances in Tiflis which is now Tbilisi. Niko Pirosmani amazed with her talent and beauty immediately fell in love. It is said that a lot of men fell in love with her, but Margarita was always unapproachable. “If you are a national artist and belong to the whole nation, you should not belong to one person” – that was her opinion. She became an inspiration for many romantic legends and poems. The painter’s love annoyed Margarita. Some say that he waited for her near her house and when she didn’t pay attention to him, fell on the ground, crying and kissing the ground where she passed. Pirosmani painted a portrait of the actress and named “Actress Margarita” – now it is one of his most famous works.

NIko Pirosmani Actress

Niko was so charmed with her beauty, that on his birthday Pirosmani sold all his possessions and bought all the flowers in the city. Huge carts laden with flowers have been delivered to the home of Margarita. They were unloaded near her window, and in some time the whole street was filled with flowers. The legend says that it was roses, in fact, there were not only roses but also lilac, acacia, lilies and other beautiful flowers. That clear morning Margarita heard the noise and felt an incredible aroma in the air. Excited she came up to the window. An amazing carpet of flowers stretched in front of her, and Pirosmani was approaching her house through the flowers. The actress ran out of the house in her most beautiful dress and gave the artist her first and last kiss. Of course, this story is covered with legends, and nobody can exactly tell how it was actually. It is said that Niko had never seen an actress after that day.

She has become  inspiration for many romantic legends and poems. This story became widely known during his life and it reached the writer Shalva Dadiani. In 1922 some Simon Papiashvili wrote about him: “He has no family. One French woman loved him, I guess, whole year…” Niko’s sister Pepe wrote to Dadiani: “He never had family, but I know for sure he had a lover.”

Niko’s happiness didn’t have any boundaries, all he spared during his whole life he spent for her, for the woman he loved. But Margarita got to know one day that he wasn’t count and he wasn’t rich and he was just common person who gave her all he had… and once Niko found out that Margarita left for Paris.

Konstantin Paustovskii described the story of that love in his book: “The carts were full of flowers up till edges, with drops of water, seemed like the early-dew sprinkled them with billions of rainbow drops. The carts stopped at Margarita’s house. Carters talked awhile with each other in low voices, and then started to unload the carts and throw flowers on the ground in front of gates, covering stones in pavement and road. Yes, these were thousands of flowers that Niko got for his beloved woman…”

I wonder if men like Niko, who are ready to sacrifice everything for the love still do exist?

Niko Pirosmani is one of the outstanding painters in the world, whose works have never  lost public interest and fascination. There are many works about merchants, shopkeepers and also animals. Pirosmani was fond of nature and made many paintings of village life.

Niko Pirosmani A bear in the moon light 1913

He is a self-taught artist whose primitivism style inspired the master of modern art, Pablo Picasso. pictures were exhibited in many museums of different countries worldwide. Unfortunately he couldn’t escape the destiny of many great artist and during his life he lived in poverty and often painted in exchange for food, the real fame came to him only after his death.

Niko Pirosmani Fisherman in a red short


This story became particularly famous due to the song of well-known Russian singer Alla Pugacheva – “Million red roses” – which tells about this poor Georgian artist. Once people of the Soviet Union and China knew this song by heart.  Here is the link to the song with English translation.


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