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State Museum of Art, Latvia

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The date of the foundation of the museum is considered to be 1869, when the first City Art Gallery was opened to the public. In 1903, the construction of the new building was entrusted to the museum's first director Wilhelm Neumann. In 1905, the citizens saw the new monumental building, one of the most beautiful in Riga. The magnificent facade combined elements of Baroque and Classicism. The exquisite sculptural group on the central pediment was created by August Folz (1851-1926). In the interior various elements of popular Art Nouveau have been used.

Nowadays the museum has two addresses: Valdemara St., 10A and Torna St., 1. In 1989, the collection of contemporary art moved into the new building Arsenals, constructed at the beginning of the 19th century in the late Russian classicism style by the architect I.E. De Witte. For two centuries the Arsenals building has been used as a warehouse. Only in the mid-1980s it was taken over by the Ministry of Culture for the use of the museum of art.

The collection of the State Museum of Art comprises 32,000 items making it the widest and most significant collections of visual art in the country. Latvian Art Collection is the biggest in the world. It reflects the development of painting, drawing and sculpture in Latvia from the middle of the 18 century till nowadays. The collection is organized in such a way that visitors can trace not only the general development of professional art, but the creative development of the separate artist as well. The real gems of the museum's collection are works by different Latvian classical artists - Julijs Feders, Vilhelms Purvitis, Janis Rozentals, Janis Valters, Konrads Ubans, Janis Liepins, Voldemars Matvejs, Ludolfs Liberts, and others.

Although Foreign Art Collection is not very big, it provides a comprehensive overview of the development of Russian profesional fine arts. Even before the City Art Museum was set up, Russian painters Ivan Ayvazovsky and Alexey Bogolybov donated to the City Council their works. Since then the collection has been constantly growing. Now it includes works by Karl Brylov, Vasiliy Tropinin, Orest Kiprensky, Ivan Ayvazovsky, Ivan Shishkin, Aleksey Savrasov, Isaak Levitan. Pictures by artists who participated in the Peredvizhniki movement (Vasiliy Surikov, Ilya Repin, Vasiliy Perov, Grigoriy Mjasojedov, Vladimir Makovsky in the Collection) are characteristic examples of Russian Realistic painting. Artistic divergence at the turn of the 19-20th century is clearly seen in the canvases by artists active in artist associations Mir Isskustva, Bubnovij Valet and Golubaya roza (Alexander Benois, Boris Kustodiyev, Ilya Mashkov, Filiph Malyavin, Nikolai Sapunov). One must especially note a Collection of paintings by Nikolai Roerich and Svyatoslav Roerich, a part of which can be found on permanent display in the museum. More info on: www.riga-hotels.net

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