Riga is not only Latvia’s political capital but also a center of the country’s culture. Some of the art movements such as Art Nouveau Jugendstil had a huge impact on the development of Latvia’s cultural atmosphere as well as the design of buildings in its cities. Check out the best galleries to admire Riga’s Art, both classical and contemporary.
This gallery-museum is situated at the very heart of Riga’s Old Town. The museum is based in a 19th-century building inspired by Venetian Renaissance palaces. It is very richly and tastefully decorated both outside and inside, with gold statues on the ceilings in the old exhibition halls, beautiful columns and an amazing crystal fireplace. The gallery has four permanent expositions: the Painting Gallery, featuring Western European paintings from the 16th to the 19th century; the Western Gallery with Western European porcelain from the 18th to the 20th century; the Oriental Gallery – a collection of art from the Far East and the Middle East; and Gondola – a sculpture by world-famous Russian artist Dmitry Gutov.
This gallery is a multifunctional space which continually runs contemporary art exhibitions, sometimes accompanied by live music performances. It hosts only temporary art exhibitions and collections. Very centrally located, it is a must visit for all modern art lovers. The gallery was opened in 2008 due to the need for professional exhibition premises in Riga, and since then has displayed the works of many artists, both local and international.
Happy Art Museum states that its primary mission is to encourage the viewer to join in a conversation; to join a cultural, political or philosophical debate. The gallery tries to achieve this goal by organizing different exhibitions, collaborating with contemporary artists and offering its own permanent collection: a selection of the best contemporary artists’ paintings, sculptures and graphics. Apart from general exhibitions, the gallery engages in debate through theatrical performances, seminars, corporative events, lectures, film forums and more. As its name states, the museum seeks to promote happiness and love among people, and the managers believe that art can change the world for the better.
This gallery, opened in 2000, aims to present the unique artworks of contemporary Latvian jewellery artists to a local and international audience. Most of the artists whose works are displayed in the gallery are graduates of either Latvian or Estonian academies of the arts. The gallery presents only hand-crafted jewellery of exceptional quality, and, according to the managers of the gallery, the jewellery displayed can be seen as both art and design objects at once.
This is probably the first place to go for visitors who want to learn what the classical art of Latvia was really like. It is also a great insight into the country’s history as the displays of national art can tell a lot about how the country viewed itself and the connections and influences it made with other countries throughout the ages. The museum includes a few different galleries: the main building, the Arsenals exhibition hall, the flat of the artist couple Romans Suta and Aleksandra Belcova, displaying their paintings and design bits, and the museum of decorative arts and design.