Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States
When we think of European masters and masterpieces, the mind immediately turns to the French, Dutch and Italians that still resonate with the Western world. Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are much further down the list. That is something Rodolphe Rapetti, general curator for Heritage at the Musée d'Orsay wants to change.
The exhibition "Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States" at Musée d'Orsay brings a new light on this region. The museum will exhibit a series of works from important artists from these three Baltic nations. Many of these figures will be unknown to the average visitor, which means a whole new audience. There are stunning paintings that capture that sense of identity and culture with nods to the land, its people and its stories. Among those works are some from Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis. Čiurlionis is a composer and painter, heralded by peers and critics across the world, and someone overdue this level of international celebration.
This exhibition comes at an important time in the history of the Baltic region. The member states of this engaging area are young by comparison with other areas of Europe. Therefore, we may easily forget that the region marks its centenary this year. This era of independence and identity – so clearly seen in these paintings – began at the end of the First World War. Further significance comes in the fact that most of these painting are on show for the first time outside of the region.
This is an important moment for Baltic art and a learning experience for Western European visitors. It gives a chance for museum patrons to see new faces, styles, and artists in one of the most famous artistic capitals of the world. These Baltic masterpieces can, although briefly, sit beside other European works and gain equal respect.
"Wild Souls. Symbolism in the Baltic States" runs at the Musée d'Orsay from April 10th until July 15th.