Stylish Things: Furniture and Decorative Art from the Collections of Estonian Museums
Objects from the past help bring history alive. Cups, armchairs and other practical everyday items reveal the mindset and aesthetic preferences of the times in which they were created and used. The symbolism of decorative elements and the forms, colours and materials of these objects reflect social and economic circumstances, changing beauty standards, and even military losses and victories.
The exhibition focuses on the Baroque, Rococo and Empire styles and the corresponding revival styles of the 19th century. Rather than recreate faithful representations of historical interiors, the aim is to highlight, through a selection of objects and features, the character and typical forms and elements associated with different styles and periods. The viewer is invited to notice and recognise these ornaments outside the exhibition rooms: to search for the volutes decorating the Baroque furniture in the display elsewhere in the Kadriorg Palace or compare the manifestations of dramatic Baroque and elegant Rococo styles in figurative and applied arts.
Many items of furniture, as well as figurative and decorative art pieces in the collections of Estonian museums, originate from Baltic German manor houses. While these pieces typically represent the stylistic preferences of certain periods, many of them have stories of their own to tell, related to their origins, creation, survival or restoration. Visitors can read these stories in the exhibition texts.
The exhibition features objects and artworks from the Estonian History Museum, Estonian National Museum, Tallinn City Museum, Narva Museum and the Art Museum of Estonia.
Curator: Kerttu Männiste
Work group: Aleksandra Murre and Anu Allikvee
Exhibition design: Liina Unt
Graphic design: Katre Rohumaa