2000 | 1 | 74-83
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NEO-CLASSICISM IN THE DECORATIVE SCULPTURE OF ART NOUVEAU IN RIGA (Velreiz par neoklasicismu Rigas 20. gadsimta sakuma arhitekturas dekorativaja telnieciba)

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In analyzing the architecture of turn-of-the-century Riga, it is important to evaluate the style of decorative sculpture that was used in the construction process. This is a subject that has received scant attention from specialists so far. Some of the materials can be classified as belonging to Neo-Classicism. The fact that we can find elements of Neo-Classicism in the decorative sculpture of early-20th century architecture in Riga, moreover, allows us to expand the chronological frontiers which apply to this particular movement in Latvia. As the result of a comparative analysis, we have found several specific aspects of decorative sculpture in early-20th century Rigensian decorative sculpture that can be attributed to Neo-Classicism. These are found in clear efforts to imbue the style with regional motivation, taking a fairly free approach to the classic inheritance of the movement, as well as in close links and reciprocal effect with late Art Nouveau and National Romanticism. International influences were important, too. The trends toward Classicism expanded the range of expressive opportunities that were available to sculptors, letting them search for new forms of plastic expression. There were also changes in the range of decorative and iconographic motifs, promoting the development of allegorical and story-telling compositions in the external decorations of buildings. Riga's Neo-C1assicist decorative sculpture tended to be quite concrete in terms of iconographic expressiveness, and the trend was toward sculpture which really told a story. Sometimes a certain craftsmanship in execution of a sculpture could diminish the academic seriousness and attribute more liveliness to the depiction. At the same time, however, we also find professionally valuable interpretations of classical themes - ones in which the link to the conventional traditions of Classicism was unimportant in the shaping of subjective allusions to mythological themes.
  • Silvija Grosa, Latvian Academy of Art, Kalpaka bulvaris 13, Riga LV-1867, Latvia
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