From May 28 to October 9, 2022, the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art will host the exhibition “PURVITIS”, dedicated to the 150th anniversary of the outstanding Latvian landscape painter Vilhelms Purvītis.
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Vilhelms Purvītis (1872–1945), the creator of the national landscape painting and the most ambitious modernist, has been recognized as one of the main personalities in the visual art of the first half of the 20th century in Latvia, according to the creators of the exhibition. At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the masterful painter of snow and early northern spring was observed in St. Petersburg, Paris, Munich, Berlin, Vienna and other European art centers. The best-known representative of Baltic modern art was equally involved in the new changes in the landscape genre, gaining success abroad, authority in the art life of Riga and a consistently high status in the world of Latvian art.
According to the curator of the exhibition Aija Brasliņa, the name of the European Latvian classic has become one of the symbols of national identity in the history of Latvian art and public perceptions. In the form of poetic archetypes, “swampy” images, motifs and moods retain their presence in the sense and vision of our landscape. The overall image of the native Nordic nature created by the painter, as well as the classically composed ideal landscapes of Latvia at the turn of the season, is often perceived as a canon of the national landscape.
“Purvītis deserves special attention as an implementer of the idea of higher art education and co-creator of cultural policy in the independent state of Latvia, as the first rector of the Latvian Academy of Arts and head of the Landscape Workshop and director of the prestigious Riga City Art Museum and the organizer of representative international exhibitions, “says Brasliņa.
The anniversary retrospective dedicated to the landscape artist includes a selection of works from various creative periods from the collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art – the largest collection of the artist’s paintings and graphics, supplemented by exhibits from Liepaja and Tukums museum collections and several private collections – Belēviči family, Andris
“The more traditional pictorial expression alternates with the modernized, early and late” Purvītis’ artistic self-development and stylistic change in a variety of impressions ranging from plein-air studios and neo-romantic landscapes, .
With the decision of the 41st session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2021, the 150th anniversary of Wilhelm Purvītis is included in the calendar of UNESCO celebrations in 2022. By promoting an international understanding of the world’s cultural diversity and values, UNESCO celebrates the anniversaries of significant events for its member states and highlights the personalities who have made significant contributions to the development of education, science and culture.