Dear travellers, welcome to the new post! Today we continue our story in the capital of Latvia. Many people call Riga the “Pearl of the Baltic” which this city really deserves. In today’s post, I’m going to take you to one that is considered to be one of the biggest artistic treasures in the Baltic. Sometimes beauty is really only in the eye of the beholder, and I am sure that with my post today I will convince you.
In the previous post – link, we started our adventure in Riga, so if you missed to read it or you want to remind yourself about some details you should do it before you continue with reading this post.
Another beautiful morning in Riga dawned, so my photographer and I had to get ready for a special day, because an exciting day was waiting for us. Everything was organised by our organizers of this unusual trip and without which this project would not be possible – Riga Tourist Organization – Live Riga and the national Latvian airline airBaltic. This trip really changed my image of the cold Baltic, and I realized that their culture and lifestyle was somewhat similar to ours in Serbia. Of course, this journey also convinced me that the distances still somehow connect us.
On the way to the Latvian National Gallery of Art, we had the opportunity to see the largest Orthodox shrine in Riga – the “Church of the Nativity of Christ” is the largest Orthodox church in Riga, which in the Soviet era played the role of a planetarium and restaurant, but again became a sacral building where they hold regular liturgies.
When we talk about sacral structures, we can say that they represent a mirror of the society in which they were created and a reflection of the whole culture of a nation. Thus, except for religious ceremonies, the church has always served for social gatherings and has been the center of cultural life.
You can visit this magnificent building in the Esplanade Park located in the heart of Riga! The Church of the Nativity of Christ is an architectural gem and a symbol of stability, which anyone to visit who needs comfort and refuge.
As I promised you, I will now tell you more about the Latvian National Museum of Art. The collection of the largest art museum in Latvia contains more than 50 thousand works of Baltic and Russian painters and sculptors.
In addition to the basic exhibits, this museum regularly offers various temporary exhibitions. Visitors can take advantage of special educational programs and guided tours. One of the continuing exhibitions is “19th – 20th Century of Latvian Art” offers the entire history of Latvian art in the 19th and 20th centuries. The exhibition includes masterpieces by the founders of the Summer National Painting School – Wilhelms Purvitis, Janis Rozentals, Johans Valters. The new art showroom is located at -1 level, where you can always see a modern exhibition on current topics and works of modern art.
The museum is housed in a building in Riga that is of great historical importance. The building on Janis Rozentals Square 1 was designed by German architect Vilhelm Neumann and was built in 1905. It is one of the most impressive historic buildings on the boulevard and is adjacent to the Academy of Arts.
It was the first building in the Baltic to be built for museum purposes. The last reconstruction lasted almost 5 years and was completed in late 2015.
According to some historical records in 1869, it is thought that a museum was founded when the City Art Gallery was opened. In 1905 the museum was renamed the “Riga City Museum of Art”, 1940. The name was changed to “Soviet Art Museum of LSSR” in 1945 – State Latvian and Russian Art Museum of LSSR, 1964 – Museum of Art of LSSR.
In 1987, the museum was renamed as the “National Museum of Art”, and in 1995 it was given the name that we all know today – the “Latvian National Museum of Art“. Initially, the museum consisted mainly of works by foreign artists from several private collections. Wilhelms Purvitis, director of the museum from 1919 to 1940, made it possible to collect works by renowned Latvian authors.
The concept of the oldest art stage in Latvia was created by local German painters Johann Heinrich Baumann, Johann Leebereht Eggin, Alexander Heibel and others. The special collection of Latvian artists (late 18th – first half of the 20th century) includes more than 300 artists and 3,300 works of art. This permanent exhibition gives visitors an insight into the development of Latvian art, created by the work of Karl Hoon, Karl Petersone, Julius Feder, the first Latvian art group “Dwarf” and its creator Adam Alksna.
The museum owns the largest collection of works by academician J. Feder – about 300 drawings, paintings and sketches. The museum’s collection contains large collections of paintings of national classics of Latvian art – Janis Rozentals, Vilhelm Purvitis, Johann Valter.
Also prominent are Voldemars Matveys, Jacobs Caxax, Jazeps Groswalds, Conrads Ubans, Valdemars Tone, Janis Liepins, Leo Svemps, Nikolas Strunke, Ludolfs Liberts, Janis Tidemanis, Eduards Kalnins, Karlis Miesnieks and others.
The Contemporary Art Collection combines the collections of the former City Museum of the City of Riga and the National Museum of Latvia, or both major collections of Latvian war art, as well as items from earlier collections – Friedrich Vilhelm Brederlo, Riga Art Society (Kunstverein), Latvian Association for the Promotion of Art in Latvia.
In 2018, the museum received a cultural award for the great success of the Baltic Symbolism exhibition at the Paris Museum Orsay.
If you visit Riga I think you should visit this museum, the ticket price is around 3 – 4 euros and I think you would enjoy the beauty of classical and modern art. As I said at the very beginning of this post, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and I think you would surely find works of art you would enjoy.
After an few hours long visit to the museum, it was time for little Mark to go and buy some presents and little things for his friends. I decided to share with you a few interesting shops in Riga where you can buy interesting gifts for your loved ones and friends.
RIIJA is a Specialized Concept Store located in the heart of Riga in the main street of Terbatas Iela, offering an eclectic range of Latvian designers’ products, from housewares and freestyle clothes to original furniture, cutlery and lighting. All products are designed and crafted by local designers, representing the label’s blend of traditional Latvian craft with a contemporary worldview. I am sure you will find something interesting, I bought jewelry for my dear ladies and it was on a good discount. You can find the address of this store in Riga at the LINK.
The next interesting store I visited was MANILLA. This is the place where huge fans of paper and pretty things and creatives meet! The Manilla shop is the result of a great love for paper and a love for paper things that you hold in your hand and cannot simply let go. Manilla is little more than a small shop in downtown Riga – a small oasis for all paper and design lovers who need to touch the surface of the paper to feel life, who can truly appreciate the warm greetings printed in a modern greeting card, who really believes it is Gift packaging is as important as its contents or planner and a notebook for them is an accessory that makes everyday life more interesting and beautiful.
Having bought everything I needed for dear people, I decided to sit on a bench in one of Riga’s many parks and enjoy the beauty of nature. Of course, for me, the only thing left is to do after I spent all of the money! Of course it is a joke, I always try to attract myself to dear people and I buy interesting gifts and I have never regretted buying some interesting gifts for people who I respect and my family.
To be honest, it didn’t even take me an hour to sit on the bench to rest. Riga is a small town, but when you are actively walking there it is normal to get tired. I was also tired of the previous trips which I had this summer, so it kind of caught up with me!
Okay, in the end I had to find some strength to continue exploring Riga. Since we had a couple of bags we decided it was best to go back to the hotel and return to a new part of town and continue our research. The picture you can see below has one interesting story…
On my way back to the hotel with heavy bags in my hands, I wanted to take pictures of the old part of town with the people on the street as it was ideal natural lighting… Of course the photographer since had a heavy backpack with two laptops (he was mine there too since I was a little scattered on trips) ) and busy hands over bags of things we bought (you’ll understand if I say that the reductions were literally 70-80% off…) and a shoulder bag.
Now imagine the scene, the photographer I threatened to rub her shoulder with, still hold one bag in my teeth, hold the camera with one hand and try to find the focus…. it’s not going… again i put the camera back on the photographer’s shoulder to zoom in better with the same hand since my bags were in my other hand. I take the camera again and the impatient photographer moves because photographer will no longer want to stay in the same place otherwise all the bags would finish in garbage bin that was on the side street next to us… well, at the end I got at least some photo, it is not perfect, but if we take in considering the situation it’s perfect!
Afterwards I met in town with my mother who enthusiastically showed me this interesting shop in the heart of the old part of Riga. I was most attracted to the advertising slogan on the store window: “Life is too short for ugly shoes.” The store is otherwise held by a funny Italian who is trying to crack classic Italian music from the store. I love the Italian mentality and their lifestyle is always “Dolce far niente! – blissful idleness or what my mother would say “The sweetness in life when your money falls from the sky and you don’t have to work.”
P.S. Mom bought the moccasins in the right angle, that are a combination of beige, light blue, and navy colors for some really symbolic price. Yes… again we bought almost a number and a half smaller shoes, but who asks when it’s a good deal! Our magical shoemaker in Serbia managed to extend them!
In the picture above you can see the oldest and narrowest street in Riga. It is so interesting, isn’t it? My dear adventurers, once again we have come to the end of our second and last blog post from Riga. Time just flies so fast when you are having a good time! At the end of this post, I would like to thank my friends from Tourism Board of Riga – Live Riga and airBaltic for this incredible adventure and Pullman Old Town Riga Hotel for their huge efforts to make our stay unforgettable and I felt like at home.
How do you like this story about Latvian National Gallery of Art? Have you maybe had a chance to visit Riga and to enjoy in the beauty of Latvia? I would like to share with me your experience! See you soon on some other interesting destination!
If you have a question, comment, suggestion or message for me, you can write me down in the comments. Of course, as always you can contact me via mail or social media, which you can find on the CONTACT page.