Publications by Mikkel Museum 2015

Lavater’s Book of Faces. An Enlightenment Era Glance at People and Art

2015_Lavateri_raamat_kinni Edited, with commentary, by Anu Allikvee and Tiina Mall Kreem
Translation by Katrin Kaugver
Designed by Angelika Schneider
216 pp.
In Estonian, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Mikkel Museum in collaboration with the Academic Library of Tallinn University – the Baltica and Rare Books Conservation Department
Tallinn 2015
ISBN 978-9949-485-44-4

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The book accompanies the exhibition of the same name at the Mikkel Museum (24.10.2015–26.03.2016) and introduces the thoughts of the Swiss Enlightener Johann Caspar Lavater (1741–1801) on the links between the appearance, character and abilities of humans and animals.

Lavater’s study Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe, which was supported by thousands of portraits, was a best-seller in the second half of the 18th and first half of the 19th centuries. It gave rise to the saying “Never leave home without a mask!” and had a direct effect on people’s behaviour and the perspective of portrait artists and portrait viewers, as well as indirectly influencing the emergence of art history as a scientific discipline.

Lavater’s popular book has been reprinted all over the world in hundreds of new editions; in Estonian, the excerpts from Lavater’s fragmentary physiognomic studies are here published for the first time. Our purpose is to give the reader an idea of the publicly played, yet secret, exciting and rather dangerous society “game” of the Age of Enlightenment, e.g. a high forehead is a sign of intelligence. The introduction to the book reminds the reader that Lavater also had friends and acquaintances in Estonia, so his ideas have not been strange to this cultural scene.

Folded World. Fans from the Collections of the Art Museum of Estonia

Edited by Aleksandra Murre and Kersti Kuldna-Türkson
Texts by Kersti Kuldna-Türkson, Heige Peets, Julia Plotnikova (State Hermitage) and Aleksandra Murre
Designed by Tuuli Aule
108 pp.
In Estonian and English, summary in Russian, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Mikkel Museum
Tallinn 2015
ISBN 978-9949-485-39-0

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The exhibition at the Mikkel Museum (25.04.–11.10.2015) and the catalogue that accompanies it bring before the public for the first time the entire collection of fans in the Art Museum of Estonia, which, although not very large, is quite diverse and valuable. The collection is comprised of historical fans from 18th– to early 20th-century Europe, as well as some fans from Asia.

The interest in fans is linked to their role in social settings and ceremonial occasions, or they can be viewed in the context of fashion history. The exhibition and the related catalogue will concentrate on these elegant and delicate items as unique works of art that combine different arts, but they also give us a lot of valuable information about the materials used for making fans and about their restoration. This is the first overview of fans from the collections of the Art Museum of Estonia directed at a wider audience and, in addition to helping us preserve the museum’s collection, it improves our general knowledge of the types, materials and makers of fans and introduces technical terms, which should be of great help to museums and private collectors.