Creating the Discipline: Facts, Stories and Sources of Latvian Art History Cover Image
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Creating the Discipline: Facts, Stories and Sources of Latvian Art History
Creating the Discipline: Facts, Stories and Sources of Latvian Art History

Author(s): Stella Pelše
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Eesti Kunstiteadlaste Ühing
Keywords: Latvian art; art history; national art; realism

Summary/Abstract: The article reflects on the main personalities, phases and achievements (such as major monographs and surveys) of art-historical research in Latvia, outlining the dominant ideas and institutional developments. While interest in art-related issues already emerged in Baltic German circles in the late nineteenth century, it was not until the late 1910s and early 1920s that the story of national art emerged as an important lacuna to be filled in the cultural consciousness of the newly founded nation-state. The construction of an uninterrupted line of artistic development from prehistoric times to the present came to the fore, inscribing the local heritage in the wider processes of the development of art. The Soviet period replaced the story of national art with the story of realist art produced on the territory of Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic; still the gradual entropy of imposed sociological method has largely encouraged a turn towards the autonomous artwork, examining it in a spectrum of aspects, such as regional routes of migration and influences, and genealogies of iconographic and stylistic traits. A loose empirical pluralistic and even eclectic approach seems to best describe the current situation in Latvian art history.

  • Issue Year: 19/2010
  • Issue No: 03+04
  • Page Range: 26-41
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English