Latvian National Museum of Art
Fri: 11 AM to 8 PM
Housed in a majestic mansion built in 1905, the National Museum is an Art Nouveau gem inside and out. A facade covered with mock-Baroque ornamentation and a grandiose colonnaded entrance up sweeping steps sets the scene for more splendours within; red carpets everywhere and gleaming parquet floors, with intricate detailing and molding adorning all ceilings and walls. The permanent exhibitions cover a rich collection of Latvian art from the mid-18th century to present day - while some names may not be familiar to western ears, greats such as Janis Valters and J?nis Rozentals contributed to the flowering of Latvian art in the early 20th century. There are portraits by Karlis Huns and melancholic rural scenes under leaden skies painted by Gerhard von Rosen. Other galleries hang Russian art from the late-16th century onwards, with plenty of atmospheric Baltic-themed Impressionist works. Included under the umbrella of the National Museum are four others: the Arsenals Exhibition Hall (contemporary exhibitions); the Art Museum Riga Bourse (paintings, porcelain, silver in Estonia's newest art gallery); the Museum of Decorative Arts and Design (applied arts); and finally the eponymous Museum of Romans Suta and Aleksandra Bejcova in the old house of this outstanding early 20th-century pair of artists.