The permanent exhibition in the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art shows the richness of the museum's collection, the history of its formation as well as the most outstanding achievements of national art from the end of the 18th century to the end of the 20th century.
World War I brought difficult challenges for the Latvian people, which inspired a strong wave of national self-consciousness in artists. Jāzeps Grosvalds was the first to take up the pressing subject of refugees and riflemen in painting. Jēkabs Kazaks, who was significantly influenced by contemporary French painting, also turned to depiction of the dramatic historical events.
During World War I, many Latvian artists ended up in Russia, but most returned to Latvia following the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917. Latvian artists – Gustavs Klucis, Kārlis Johansons and Aleksandrs Drēviņš – chose to stay in Soviet Russia and to take part in the formation of Russian avant-garde art.
The 1980s in Latvian art was period of significant transformations. Neo-expressionism became a vivid episode in art: artists chose impressive formats and depicted huge, pathetic and deformed figures – metaphors of a dehumanised society.
The exhibition of works by the outstanding artist and thinker Nicholas Roerich (1874–1947) is located on the third floor of the museum. The tranquillity of this room helps viewers to delve into the Himalayan peaks created by the master with an amazingly clean tempera palette.
The Ancient Greek and Roman Art Chamber is situated on the third floor of the museum and introduces the visitors to Ancient Greek pottery, Ancient Greek and Roman coins as well as marble sculptures from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art.
On the fourth floor in the former safe room, which has been transformed into the Silverware Chamber, is a display of items from the museum’s precious metals collection, covering the period from the late 17th century until the early 20th century. The items were made in the Russian Empire, including the Baltics and Europe.
The Ancient Egypt Chamber is located in one of the three large safes of the former Riga stock exchange. The doors decorated in neo-Gothic style have retained their original form allowing us to visualise the time when it was an important and well-guarded room.
The exhibition of seven granite sculptures introduces the artwork of the 2nd half of the 20th century, created by the sculptors Laimons Blumbergs, Ojārs Feldbergs, Lilija Līce, Ojārs Siliņš, Juris Zihmanis, and Zenta Zvāra.
In the exhibition, “Lauka telpa” is likely to encounter artworks that reveal the creative art language and its quest of Daiga Grantiņa. To help you understand what you see, electronic cards have been created with questions in Latvian and English to be used at any time during the visit.
For a large part of society, life in the 21st-century is characterized by digital events and content consumption in the digital environment, as well as regular anxiety, exhaustion, homogenous sensory experience, or routine. The Route of Wellbeing is an invitation to explore the art museum in a more personal way, enjoy time alone in the peaceful environment of art, and experience an alternative adventure of the senses, promoting mindfulness and mental well-being.
The project "Start with Art" contains eight short films that have been created by involving exhibition curators, art historians and various communities of foreigners living in Latvia. It all results in the interpretation of the museum's collection that combines cultural and academic knowledge.
Discover the museum building with your family! The family guide provides an insight into the details of the luxurious interior of the museum building, which can be seen thanks to large-scale reconstruction and restoration works.
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