THE LANDSCAPE PAINTING MASTER STUDIO OF THE LATVIAN ACADEMY OF ART. STRUCTURE. FACTS. STUDENTS (Latvijas Makslas akademijas Dabasskatu meistardarbnica)
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The founder of the Latvian Academy of Art, its first rector and tutor was Vilhelms Purvitis (1872-1945), who also ranks high in Latvian art and is unquestionably its most outstanding landscape painter. Ever since the opening of the Academy (1921) Purvitis taught painting and ran the Landscape Painting Master Studio until 1944. Due to his great experience and broad outlook, Purvitis was a competent tutor. There were two main grades for Landscape Painting Studio's apprentices - those who were admitted and the entering ones, but the difference between them was not strictly determined. To be admitted meant to spend some trial period under master's supervision. For some students it could last for several years, but others (especially those who crossed over from other studios) could enter the Landscape Painting Master Studio at once. The Master Studio saw very different students in terms of number (e.g. 2 students in the first study year or 30 in 1932/33), nationality (basically Latvians, but also 2 Russians, 1 Lithuanian, 1 Osset), age (from 17 to 40). 90 people passed through Purvitis workshop at all. 49 of them graduated from the master studio by working out the diploma work. Students deeply respected him because of their master's sensitive and individual approach to each one of them. Purvitis chose the most talented young artists for his studio - the selection was carried out during the autumn shows. The most significant indicator for the aspirants of the Landscape Painting Studio seemed to be the profound sense of color - the master was sure that this was the ability, which could not be taught and depended only on student's inherited talent. The painter taught his students to strive for pure tonality, tightly constructed composition and generalisation of the image. Meticulous nature studies resulted in a deep feeling and thorough understanding for Latvia's nature. Like Arkhip Kuinji, Purvitis' teacher at the St. Petersburg Imperial Academy of Art, the master never forced his style onto his students.
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