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 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.
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