Art Nouveau in Riga Architecture

Research work Art Nouveau in Riga Architecture Riga 2009 Contents 1. Art Nouveau………………………………………………………………….. 3 2. Art Nouveau in Riga.. ………………………………………………………… 3 3. Art Nouveau in other areas.. ………………………………………. …. ……… 4 4. Elizabetes street 10b.. ………………………………………………. ……….. 4 5. Assessment…………………………………………………… …….. ……….. 7 6. References……………………………………………………………………8 1. Art Nouveau Art Nouveau is an international movement and style of art, architecture and applied art—especially the decorative arts—that peaked in popularity at the turn of the 20th century (1890–1905). The name ‘Art nouveau’ is French for ‘new art’, it is also known as Art nouveau, German for ‘youth style’, named after the magazine Jugend, which promoted it. A reaction to academic art of the 19th century, it is characterized by organic, especially floral and other plant-inspired motifs, as well as highly-stylized, flowing curvilinear forms. Art Nouveau is an approach to design according to which artists should work on everything from architecture to furniture, making art part of everyday life. Art Nouveau’s fifteen-year peak was strongly felt throughout Europe—from Glasgow to Moscow to Spain—but its influence was global. Hence, it is known in various guises with frequent localized tendencies. In France, Hector Guimard’s metro entrances shaped the landscape of Paris and Emile Galle was at the center of the school of thought in Nancy. Victor Horta had a decisive impact on architecture in Belgium. Magazines like Jugend helped spread the style in Germany, especially as a graphic art form, while the Vienna Secessionists influenced art and architecture throughout Austria-Hungary. Art Nouveau was also a movement of distinct individuals such as Gustav Klimt, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, Alfons Mucha, Rene Lalique, Antoni Gaudi and Louis Comfort Tiffany, each of whom interpreted it in their own individual manner. Although Art Nouveau fell out of favor with the arrival of 20th-century modernist styles, it is seen today as an important bridge between the historicism of Neoclassicism and modernism. Furthermore, Art Nouveau monuments are now recognized by UNESCO on their World Heritage List as significant contributions to cultural heritage. The historic center of Riga, Latvia, with “the finest collection of art nouveau buildings in Europe”, was inscribed on the list in 1997 in part because of the “quality and the quantity of its Art Nouveau/Art nouveau architecture”, and four Brussels town houses by Victor Horta were included in 2000 as “works of human creative genius” that are “outstanding examples of Art Nouveau architecture brilliantly illustrating the transition from the 19th to the 20th century in art, thought, and society. ” It later influenced psychedelic art that flourished in the 1960s and 1970s. 2. Art Nouveau in Riga Riga, the capital of Latvia, is an Art Nouveau city. The city centre contains the finest concentration of Art Nouveau buildings in the world: more than one third of all buildings there is of Art Nouveau style. It is an urban ensemble, inscribed on the World Heritage List. The early 20th century was the “golden age” for the development of the city. It became one of the major centres of industry, trade and culture on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea. The population approximately doubled over the course of 15 years, surpassing 500,000 on the eve of World War I. The first Art Nouveau buildings in Riga appeared as early as 1899. Already after 1904 Eclecticism disappeared from Riga’s construction activity, being completely replaced by Art Nouveau. This new style there was inspired by German, Austrian and Finnish architecture, but rooted mainly in local cultural traditions. Primarily local architects were employed, most of them having been graduated from the Architectural Department (established 1869) of the Riga Polytechnic Institute. In wide diversity of formal trends of Art Nouveau of Riga rather restrained, structural sense of architectural idiom prevail, although xtraordinary lavishly decorated buildings are presented as well. The most characteristic are so called Perpendicular Art Nouveau and National Romanticism. The latter reflected the search for the Latvian national identity in architecture. Art Nouveau in Riga was highly professional and versatile phenomena, where all visual arts were melded into one. 3. Art Nouveau in Other areas In Russia, the movement revolved around the art magazine Mir iskusstva (‘World of Art’), which spawned the revolutionary Ballets Russes. The Polish Art Nouveau movement centered in Krakov and was part of the Mloda Polska movement. Stanislaw Wyspianski was the leading Art Nouveau artist in Poland, his paintings, theatrical designs, stained glass, and building interiors are widely admired and celebrated in the National Museum in Krakow. Art Nouveau buildings survive in most Polish cities, with the exception of Warsaw, where Communist authorities destroyed the few Art Nouveau buildings that survived the Nazi razing of Warsaw on the grounds that the buildings were decadent. The Slovene Lands was another area influenced by Art Nouveau. At its beginning, Slovenian Art Nouveau was strongly influenced by the Viennese Secession, but it later developed an individual style. Important Slovenian Art Nouveau architects include Max Fabiani, Joze Plecnik and Ivan Vurnik. Italy’s Stile Liberty reflected the modern design emanating from the Liberty & Co store, a sign both of the Art Nouveau’s commercial aspect and the ‘imported’ character that it always retained in Italy. The spread of Art Nouveau in Portugal suffered a delay due to slowly developing industry, although the movement flourished. Especially in cities like Oporto and Aveiro, in which can be found numerous buildings influenced by European models mainly by French architecture. Art Nouveau was also popular in the Nordic countries, where it became integrated with the National Romantic Style. Good examples are the neighborhoods of Katajanokka and Ullanlinna, located in Helsinki, Finland, as well as the Helsinki Central railway station, designed by the architect Eliel Saarinen. As in Germany, Jugendstil is the prevailing term used for the style. Although no significant artists in Australia are linked to the Art Nouveau movement, many buildings throughout Australia were designed in the Art Nouveau style. In Melbourne, the Victorian Arts Society, Milton House, Melbourne Sports Depot, Melbourne City Baths, Conservatorium of Music and Melba Hall, Paston Building, and Empire Works Building all reflect the Art Nouveau style. 4. Elizabetes street 10b Architect Mikhail Eisenstein Civil engineer, revered Latvian architect, whose 18 apartment buildings have been built in Riga at the turn of 19th and 20th centuries. A personality of extraordinary temper and artistic inspiratione, Eisenstein felt building material absolutely precisely combining its colours and structures in a neat way. Fecundity of his imagination found expression in creation of numerous buildings. Facades of these buildings represent exuberant set of decorations in which ornamentals of Art Nouveau interlace with forms of different historical styles. His works in general show us unusual riot of elements: stylized flowers, garlands, half-naked women-sirens, screaming masks, wild animals, such as lions, figures of sphinxes and monsters. Amid all of this he adds to the geometrical composition of his buildings balconies of varied forms, oriels, bizarre window embrasures. Eisenstein’s creations are like the embodiment of scream about the crisis of arts of that period of time. Masks, seen on his buildings appear to us screaming in horror and yearning for new. Eisenstein paid limited attention to the layout of rooms and to the functionality of inner space, emphasizing only the exterior of buildings. At one time his works came under criticism – Rigans said that his use of decorations is the enormity. But in the long run people realised the beauty of this always-flowering garden made in stone. Mikhail Eisenstein’s son is the famous Russian film director Sergey Eisenstein. Building Among the most dramatic of Eisenstein`s structures, also commissioned by A. Lebedinsky in 1903, Is an apartment building located at 10b Elizabetes Street. According to Janis Krastins, it was based on pattern and elevation drawings worked out by Leipzig architects G. Wunschmann and H. Kozel. In its striking color contrast, unusual sculptural arrangements, and experiments with scale and proportion the edifice totally dominantes the city block. It is a symmetrical four-story building with strongly projecting bay Windows spanning the second and third stories. The balances of vertical elements, such as the piers flanking the bay Windows that continue through the four stories, are contrasted with the very prominent, deeply grooved stringcourse and cornice. Curved arches of the central entrance and the reversed arches in blue tile afford a graceful play and a delightful contrast to the rectangular elements. Sky- blue tile also accentuates the third and fourth levels and contrasts with the buff colored stone of the building. The theme expressed on this facade and also often found in Symbolist art, deals with conflicting forces in the world: the rational and the chaotic. The building is dominated by two gigantic female profiles flanking the lunette, which tops the central bay. The intertwining serpents atop their diadem and the immense size of these heads that is out of proportion to the rest of the sculptural decoration poses qustions of their identity. Their mysterious and aloof demeanor brings to mind the archetypal females depicted by the Flemish Symbolist painter Fernand Knopff, who throughout his lifetime pondered the enigmatic nature of woman. The serpent has numerous symbolic associations and is often linked with the feminine principle. It also associated with the great mysteries and cosmic forces and is a symbol of strength, energy and wisdom. The serous, introspective expression registered on the faces of the women suggests a calm rationality that is in triking contrast to the three screaming male heads that suggest the demonic and disturbing forces in the world. This theme of torment and anguish has preoccupied many Symbolist artists, among them Edvard Munsh whose painting The scream represents the tortured side of the psyche and is viewed as metaphor for anxiety in the modern world. It is not coincidental that directly beneath the screaming head emerges one of the most often used Art Nouveau symbols – the stately peacock whose fan-shaped tail is often associated with the vault of heaven and the eyes as watchful stars. The peacock is also primary symbol of unity, thus, despite the opposing forces depicted above it may be symbolic of cosmic reconciliation. The image of the peacock in a smaller version is repeated above the second floor Windows and there its elaborate wings culminate in sinuous stems, curves and flowers once more suggesting the unity in nature. Originally four semi-nude idealized female figures spanned the second floor. Two of them emerged above entrance and one appeared on each end of the facade. Their outstretched hands, perpendicular to the facade, held golden hoops and animated the space above and below them. The circle, represented by the golden rings, has many associations, among them unity, cosmic oneness, and perfection. Thus, in the context of the entire symbolic presentation, they once more underline the idea of unity and reconciliation between opposing forces in the universe. These are most likely the „iron maidens” and represent the architectural fantasy in the wildest Style Modern” described by Sergei in his memoirs. To Sergei Eisenstein, however, the golden hoops accentuate the lack of understanding between him and his father. Recalling the maidens and the effect they had on him during a carriage ride with his father in Saint Petersburg in 1916 he states:”Outstretched hands do not hold golden rings of agreement. Nor is there a golden ring of outstretched hands of mutual understanding between the two passengers of this ride. Such hands and rings never existed on Nikolayev Street 6, Apartment 7” It is not certain when these figures were removed from the facade but their dismemberment had made a lasting impression on Sergei:”I hardly remember the day of their unveiling, but I do remember that day when taken apart, like drainpipes, they left in pieces their proud pedestals… The effect is shocking and one fine day the maidens, broken into torsos, breasts, hands, waists and legs, end their strange existence… No doubt, remembering them, I broke into pieces, with such delicate excitement, the figure of Alexander III in first episode of October. the downfall of Papa`s creation, also spoke to me personally of my liberation from Papa`s authority. ” The rest of the decorative elements on this facade depict stylized swags, rings, medallions and chains that may be inspired by metalwork. Similar embellishments were also used by Otto Wagner in several of his buildings, including his Moderne Galerie(1900), the apartment house at Linke Wienzeile 40 (1898-1899) and the Bridge across Zeile. These forms rendered in angular precision rather than flowing line, may attest to Eisenstein`s background as a engineer, and the new machine age of which he was an integral part. However, flower and plant motifs often accompany these geometric forms. Flanking the two doorways on both sides of the central entrance of the Lebedinsky house are stylized owls, birds of the night, whose large eyes are rendered as blossoms, once more accentuating the unifying elements in nature. The merging of geometric and natural elements is also seen in the row of eagles, universally considered the king of birds and identified the sun, victory and royalty by many cultures. It is not coincidental that their fierce beaks hold a circle, the symbol of unity, oneness and perfection. The building facade and the interior were restored in 2000. 5. Assessment As all Art Nouveau buildings, this too is made from that time this was brought from the then widely used materials, like glass, ferroconcrete and metal. aterials themselves attain because they are widely applicable, easy to handle and if use them correctly, can get such beautiful buildings as this one. The building is certainly a remarkable masterpiece, it included into the Old Cities Old Walls, as well as new urban form. It attracts all bystanders with their abundance of the ornamental and the tangible experience. This work has helped us gain a broader picture of the Art Nouveau buildings, not only from books, but also viewed their own and explores the buildings. It is much pleasant to realize that you know what you see, when you simply walking along the street. With this building we acquainted with making photos of it and observing it. Also we collect literature in libraries and summarize information from internet. 6. References 1. Silvija Grosa “Art Nouveau in Riga by Silvija Grosa”, Jumava 2. J. Krastins „Art Nouveau buildings in Riga” Riga, 2007. g. 3. Solveiga Rasa “Mihails Eizensteins – Mikhail Eisenstein” 4. E. Laube “Par buvniecibas stilu” – Zalktis, 1908. g. No. 4. 5. www. wikipedia. org 6. www. viswiki. com 7. www. kultua. lv

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