Publications by Kadriorg Art Museum 2019

Henrik Holm. Dannebrog. The Flag That Fell from the Sky: The Golden Age of Danish Art

Written by Henrik Holm
Edited by Aleksandra Murre and Klaire Kolmann
Graphic design and image editing by Liina Siib
Size 22 × 26 cm
160 pp., paperback
In Estonian and English, illustrated
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia – Kadriorg Art Museum
Tallinn 2019
ISBN 978-9949-485-63-5

The catalogue accompanies the exhibition Dannebrog – the Flag That Fell from the Sky: The Golden Age of Danish Art at the Kadriorg Art Museum (15.06.–13.10.2019). A significant historical event for Estonia and Denmark will be commemorated on 15 June 2019: the Battle of Lyndanisse, which for Estonia means that Tallinn was mentioned for the first time in written sources and, for Denmark, marks the legendary moment of the birth of the Dannebrog, the national flag. The exhibition at the Kadriorg Art Museum will open with a programme of formal events marking the 800th anniversary of the Dannebrog. The exhibition is taking place in cooperation with the National Gallery of Denmark.

This is the first time that such a comprehensive exhibition of the Golden Age of Danish Art is being held in Estonia. It includes several works that are very renowned in Denmark and most of which are part of the permanent exhibition at the National Gallery of Denmark.   Traditionally, the Golden Age of Danish Art is defined as a period from the beginning to the middle of the 19th century, which for the country as a whole was one of the most difficult times: in the course of several wars, colonies and territories in Norway, northern Germany and elsewhere were lost. At that same time, a powerful process of national self-determination was underway, in which art played an extremely important role. The paintings produced by the masters of the Danish Golden Age defined the most significant points of contact for the people: nature, humanity and the castles, fortresses and other monuments related to the glorious periods of Danish history. And for artists, light became the most important factor, especially bright, crystal-clear light that created a feeling of joy and festivity.

The National Gallery of Denmark is one of the most influential museums in Denmark and among the most significant art museums in Europe. The museum’s collection is based on Denmark’s Royal Art Collection, which has been consistently and intensively supplemented since the museum was founded in 1896.

Mai Levin. Johann Köler

Written by Mai Levin
Peer reviewer Juta Keevallik
Production editor and editor: Renita Raudsepp
Assistant editor: Ester Kangur
Graphic design and image editing: Külli Kaats
Size 24 × 30 cm
504 pp.
In Estonian; summaries, illustration titles and catalogue of Köler’s works in English and Russian
Published by the Art Museum of Estonia
Tallinn 2019
ISBN 978-9949-485-95-6

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The publication of this monograph is a remarkable event for several reasons. Firstly, the Art Museum of Estonia rarely publishes a scholarly monograph devoted to an artist’s life and work; only one such work has been published so far and it was on Eduard Wiiralt. Authored by Mai Levin, the monograph on Wiiralt appeared in 1998 and was supplemented by an album of Wiiralt’s works by Mai Levin in 2015. Secondly, and this is most remarkable, the two ambitious volumes which the Art Museum of Estonia has undertaken to publish during the last twenty years were both authored by Mai Levin, an indisputable authority and a legendary figure in Estonian art history.

The current book on Johann Köler is not only a story of the artist’s life, it is also a story of the age in which the artist lived. This was the age which has been condemned as hostile to modern art, as too traditional and too old-fashioned. But Mai Levin does not think so. In her opinion the mid-19th century saw a great diversity of art, it was a period of intense artistic activity, and modernism was only a step away from late academism. True, this step was never taken by Köler, but being involved in the first stage of the Estonian National Awakening movement, he was not hung up on classical and eternal ideals of beauty; rather, he changed his style when ideals changed.

Mai Levin’s monograph includes an abundance of factual material and new information, as the author has made it her aim to catalogue as many of Köler’s known works as possible, find and check the information about them and include them in the current edition. She discovered new information mostly in Russian and Estonian archives and Russian museums, but also in Finland and Latvia. The information gathered by Mai Levin is not only useful for further study of Johann Köler’s work, but also for making available materials about the intellectual, cultural and political life of the 19th century. In addition, she casts light on ties between Estonia and Russia.