History

The Arsenāls exhibition hall of the Latvian National Museum of Art is located in an important architectural monument, an early 19th-century customs warehouse or arsenal in the style of the late Russian Classicism, adapted for the needs of a museum.

 

The building was originally designed by Johann Eduard de Witte (1790-1854). Later the design was supplementeded, taking into account the suggestions by Julius Adolph Spazier ca 1790-after 1870). in 1828, the architects from St Petersburg Alexander Nellinger (1898-1840) and Ivan Franzevich Lucchini (1784-1853) from the customs office, developed the final version. The building was officially completed in 1832.

 

The Arsenāls building has been used as a warehouse at all times. In the 1920s – 1930s it served as storage space for military equipment. After World War II the building was used by the Soviet military as a commercial goods warehouse and facilities for a military school. In the mid-1980s it was taken over by the Ministry of Culture to be converted into a museum of art. On 1 January 1989, after the transfer of the second half of the 20th century collection from the building on Krišjāņa Valdemāra iela, the Arsenāls exhibition hall began operations.