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Baltic Silver Antiques from a Private Collection

17 May–3 September 2017

The international exhibition on show at the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania Baltic Silver Antiques from a Private Collection displays the works of silversmiths who worked in the territory of present-day Latvia in the early 17th– mid-19th centuries. There are more than 100 impressive Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicist and Historicist silver items on show that present the development and European level of artistic expertise of silversmithing in Latvia.

The geographical range of this exhibition spans the territory of historic Livonia, more precisely, its southern part – today’s Latvia. Most of the splendid silver works quite consecutively reflect the traditions of silversmithing in historic Livonia and the capital of modern Latvia, Riga. Another region that is rather broadly presented in the exhibition is the historic Duchy of Courland and its most important cities of Mitau (Jelgava), Kuldiga, Liepāja and Bauska. The legacy of north eastern Latvia’s important centres of Cēsis, Valmiera and Valka is also recalled in a number of expressive silversmithing works. Thus, the exhibition reflects the close to 300-year-long development of silversmithing in almost all of today’s Latvia and its historic regions, as well as its most important cultural centres.

All of the exhibits from the exhibition belong to one of the most famous art collectors in Latvia, the owner of the famous Antiqua gallery established in the centre of Riga, Viktor Astanin. The collector has amassed a highly valuable collection of antique silversmithing works originating from the territory of modern Latvia. Part of the collection, which is regularly enriched with new pieces, was earlier exhibited at Rundāle Palace and at the reconstructed House of the Blackheads in Riga.

The international exhibition Baltic Silver Antiques from a Private Collection gives visitors an excellent chance to learn about the European-wide traditions of secular silversmithing, to admire the subtle shapes of the silver works with their expressive ornamentation, and to become closer acquainted with the heritage of our neighbour – Latvia. We can recall the cultural and artistic links and historic cultural exchange between Latvia and Lithuania, Riga and Vilnius, comparing the destinies of the heritage of our countries, and reflect back on the brilliance of the treasures that were once kept at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. 

Exhibition organizers
Viktor Astanin (Latvija / Latvia)
National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania (Vilnius)

Exhibition curators
Dalius Avižinis, Marijus Uzorka

Exhibition concept and plan
Dalius Avižinis, Marijus Uzorka

Exhibition publishing coordinator
Živilė Mikailienė

Exhibition cultural programme coordinator
Arnita Petrulytė

Exhibition thematic excursions coordinator
Elena Gasiulytė-Dautartienė

Exhibition information coordinators
Mindaugas Puidokas, Ramunė Vaičiulytė

Exhibition technical installation coordinators
Kęstutis Karla, Eduardas Kauklys, Egidijus Stankevičius