Published 06/02/2024 | 11:30

The “Sittow brotherhood” won the Museum Rat award in the research event category

Michel Sittow in the North? Altarpieces in Dialogue, was deemed the best research event last year at the Estonian museums’ annual awards gala. Photo: Merike Kurisoo

The research and exhibition project of the Art Museum of Estonia and Niguliste Museum, Michel Sittow in the North? Altarpieces in Dialogue, was deemed the best research event last year at the Estonian museums’ annual awards gala in the Pärnu Concert Hall.

The series of research events had a wide reach and was aimed at various target groups. Among the events was the international research conference Michel Sittow in the North? Artistic Contacts in the Late Medieval Baltic Sea Region in Tallinn (2–3 November 2023), the research seminars Üle mere – yli meren. Building Artistic Contacts between Estonia and Finland in the Long Middle Ages in Helsinki (14 October 2022) and Art Contacts in Late Medieval Sweden in Tallinn (19 October 2023). The events also included popularising seminars and lecture series in Estonia and Sweden, as well as online research seminars, in 2021–2023.

According to Merike Kurisoo, the main organiser of the series of research events and a curator and the programme manager of the Niguliste Museum, the research events held in Estonia, Sweden and Finland in 2021–2023 introduced Tallinn as a mediator and creator of art in the medieval Baltic Sea space to the wider international field of research for the first time. The research project studied the legacy of the Tallinn workshop of the internationally highly regarded European court artist Michel Sittow and the international masters who worked here at the same time as him, as well as the works they created in Tallinn at the beginning of the sixteenth century. “So far, medieval art in Estonia has been treated and studied as a heritage created elsewhere, but this project is the first to examine the significance of Tallinn in the art world of the Baltic Sea area and its impact on neighbouring countries. Thanks to this approach, a fresh perspective has opened up in the study of Finnish, Swedish and Latvian medieval art, which will be continued in future research and exhibition projects,’ said Kurisoo.

One output of the project is the exhibition and catalogue Michel Sittow in the North? Altarpieces in Dialogue (4 May – 5 November 2023) in the Niguliste Museum, and the exhibition Michel Sittow and the Holy Tribe in the Hälsingland Museum (9 December 2023 – 18 May 2024). The research project, the exhibition and accompanying events have received very wide media attention, as well as great interest among the public (the Niguliste Museum exhibition was visited by approximately 47,000 people). The significance of the research project’s activities is recognised by the fact that on 3 May 2023, King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia of Sweden, Alar Karis, President of the Republic of Estonia, and Mrs. Sirje Karis pre-opened the exhibition on the first day of the state visit.