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The birthday bash of Janis Rozentāls 0

Illustrations: Daniela Treija

The painter, graphic artist and art critic Janis Rozentāls (1866-1916) was a perennial experimenter. In the context of the Latvian art history, he is viewed as one of the seminal art scene figures of the turn of the 20th century and one of the founding fathers of Latvian professional art. In his versatile work, he introduced new principles in keeping with the Zeitgeist and trends of national awakening of the time: in his genre paintings and portraits, in works of mythology- and religious-themed painting, as well as decorative and applied graphic art, Rozentāls used concepts and form-structure borrowed from various art movements of the time, brought to Latvia around 1900 as innovations.

2016 was named the Year of Janis Rozentāls in Latvia; the artist’s birthday anniversary is also listed in the UNESCO calendar of celebrations. Arterritory marks the 150th anniversary of the Master’s birth by delighting in some of the artist’s canonical works reinterpreted by designer Daniela Treija.

Here are ‘An Artist’s Studio’ (1896, collection of the Latvian National Museum of Art); ‘The Princess and the Monkey’ (1913, LNMA collection); ‘Leda’ (circa 1909, LNMA collection); ‘Jubilant Children’ (circa 1900, LNMA collection) and a study for an advertisement (circa 1908) – and the party can begin!

Based on the painting ‘An Artist’s Studio’ (1896) by Janis Rozentāls. The painter has depicted himself and a model in his studio: the male figure of the original painting bears resemblance to the author.

Based on the painting ‘The Princess and the Monkey’ (1913) by Janis Rozentāls. The original was first exhibited in public in March 1913 as part of the III Exhibition of the Baltic Artists’ Union at the Riga City Museum. In the summer of the same year, it was shown at the XI International Art Exhibition held by the Secessionists at the Munich Glaspalast. The prototype of the Princess is believed to be Maggie Gripenberg (1881 – 1976), the Finnish pioneer of modern dance.

Based on the pastel ‘Leda’ (circa 1909) by Janis Rozentāls. The original features two characters from the Greek mythology – Zeus, the ruler of the gods, and Leda, daughter of the Aetolian king. To charm and seduce the beautiful Leda, Zeus turned himself into a swan.

Based on the painting ‘Jubilant Children’ (circa 1900) by Janis Rozentāls, one of the best known works of the Latvian artist. It was featured in several editions of a school reading textbook, thus remaining engraved in the memory of a whole generation.

Based on a painted study for an advertisement (circa 1908) by Janis Rozentāls.