Photographic Precision of Old Baltic Capitals
01 May, 2014
Photographic Precision of Old Baltic Capitals
Positive Nostalgic Trip to 18th century Riga and Tallinn

Riga is the 2014 cultural capital of Europe and on 29 April the National Academic Library of the Tbilisi State University hosted the opening of the exhibition of the famous German-born teacher and ethnographer Johann Christoph Brotze, who lived in Latvia. The exhibition displayed pictures of Riga and Tallinn. The event is initiated by the Academic Library of Latvia, and supported by the Latvian Embassy to Georgia. “I think, this is a
really interesting exhibition that has already visited 11 other countries in Europe,” Irakli Gharibashvili, Director of the Library who opened the reception.
The Academic Library of the University of Latvia (former Bibliotheca Rigensis, founded in 1524) keeps documents that bear an interesting testimony of the fates of old books and manuscripts. The unique collection of Johann Christoph Brotze (1742-1823), teacher and regional ethnographer, is one of the most striking evidences of this valuable heritage.
Brotze was born in Görlitz, learned technical drawing, studied theology and philosophy at the universities of Leipzig and Wittenberg. In 1768, he moved to Riga and worked as a tutor. In 1769, he started to teach at Riga King’s Lyceum where he has been working for 46 years. Brotze collected historical materials and drew everything that seemed significant to him. He fixed everything with great preciseness and always added written explanations that sometimes were a few lines, but sometimes several pages long.
The Latvian Ambassador, Her Excellency Mrs. Elita Gavele mentioned that, “we, nations have to be proud of our cultural heritage.” These paintings will tell you a lot about Riga and Latvians in general.
Brotze’s drawings today are considered to be one of the main sources for researchers in terms of history, architecture and ethnography. Venta Kocere is the director of the Academic Library of the University of Latvia and the initiator of the exhibition. “I am happy to be back in Georgia again after seven years. Johann Christoph Brotze was a unique person, born in Germany but spent the major part of his life in Latvia. This year Riga is the cultural capital of Europe. So, everybody is interested to see how it looked like in the 18th century. We are proud to have such a huge exposition of Brotze, but we could only offer one part of it to you today. We thank everybody for hosting us here and hope that one day Georgians will also come to Latvia with their own exhibition.”
Brotze’s drawings are gathered in his most significant work “Sammlung verschiedner Liefländischer Monumente,” ten big volumes bound in leather (3130 pages, page size - 33x21 cm). Views of settlements in the Baltics, estate buildings, castles, public edifices, dwelling houses, churches, bridges, town and country dwellers, their clothing, belongings and depiction of work process, different technical equipment (waterline, etc.), monuments, armorial bearings, stamps and coins are depicted in these volumes. Brotze tried to gather as much evidence and facts about each town as possible: he drew the most significant buildings of the town, gave a description of its history, furnished information on its economic and administrative situation, and gave facts about its inhabitants and their occupations. Thanks to the drawings of J.C. Brotze we can visualize the demeanor of the representatives of 14 different nationalities that inhabited Riga at that time: their occupations, traditions and style.
In 1997, the Academic Library worked out a project supported by the Soros Foundation – Latvia and the Open Society Institute. The damaged volumes were restored and a digital archive of the ten volumes of Brotze’s Monumente was created. In order to have free access to it, an on-line database of the Monumente was created in 2000 (http://www3.acadlib.lv/broce). In 2004, the Society Integration Foundation supported the project Depiction of the Multinational Latvia in Brotze’s Works. At the same time a picture gallery of people of different nationalities was created.
Apart from Georgia, the exhibition of Johann Christoph Brotze was presented in 11 European countries – Estonia, Poland, Finland, Austria, Germany, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Hungary and Belarus. Any interested person to discover Latvian and Estonian capitals, the ways of people’s dressing and to get a little bit of positive nostalgia from these really exquisite pictures, is welcome to visit the Academic National Library at Aleksidze Street ¼, until 29 May.
Print
Other Stories
Jvari Monastery closed for tourists
Jvari Monastery is temporarily closed for tourists.
Anita Rachvelishvili recognized as the best Verdi mezzo-soprano by Riccardo Muti
The New York Times has recently published an article about Georgian opera singer Anita Rachvelishvili.
Georgia to be a guest of honor in Paris in 2021
According to the director of the National Book center in Georgia Dea Metreveli, Georgia was offered to be a guest of honor at the annual book event in Paris in 2021.
Unknown painting of Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani uncovered in Georgia
Sulkhan-Saba Orbeliani is among the most famous Georgian public figures.
Georgian opera singer Anita Rachvelishvili crowned as best classical music artist by the New York Times
In its end-of-year review about the best classical music of 2018, the newspaper frenetically celebrates Anita Rachvelishvili from Tbilisi.
Niko Pirosmani’s Georgian woman with Lechaki sold for 2 230 000 GBP
Niko pirosmani’s painting Georgian woman with Lechaki was sold at Sotheby’s for 2 230 000 GBP.
Nikortsminda Cathedral renovation works to finish successfully
Nikortsminda Cathedral is a Georgian Orthodox Church, located in Nikortsminda, Racha region of Georgia.
Georgian film “8 Minutes” wins 10 nominations on FICOCC
Georgian film “8 Minutes” became the winner for the 10 nominations on the Five Continents International Film Festival.
Ajika granted the status of an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia
The traditional Megrelian and Abkhazian technology of Ajika, Georgian spicy sauce was inscribed on the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Georgia list.
Mountains, cheese and the colors of the national flag – these are the most obvious things that the two small countries share. But there is more to it.
Claudio Margottini about Vardzia
Vardzia is a cave monastery in Samtskhe-Javakheti. Queen Tamar ordered the construction of Vardzia in the twelfth century.
International Model United Nations to be held in Tbilisi
For the first time In Georgia, International Model United Nations, organized by Kant’s Academy, will be held in Tbilisi.
Charity project COATS to help 369 vulnerable children
The 9th Community Outreach Project COATS 2018 will be hosted by Radisson Blu Iveria Hotel on Sunday, November 18th, 2018
“We try to make Georgia and its culture better known to the Swiss people”
The Swiss based society “Friends of Georgia” celebrates this year its 30 anniversary.
London hosted Qvevri Wine Festival
London hosted Qvevri Wine Festival on the 8th of November.
Shota Rustaveli among the world's top 30 writers
Shota Rustaveli is among the top 30 writers on www.ranker.com
Rituals related to wine-making in old Georgia
In old times, wine cellars used to be considered as a sacred place where certain rituals took place.
Niko Pirosmani paintings in Vienna, in the Albertina Museum
The Albertina Museum in Vienna, Austria has organized a solo exhibition of the works of Niko Pirosmani.
The Fourth Official Ceremony of the Welcome to Georgia! National Tourism Awards
On December 17, 2018 Rustaveli Theatre will host the most remarkable event of the Tourism and Hospitality industry of Georgia
Mtatsminda Panthenon – a necropolis of great Georgians
Mtatsminda Pantheon is a necropolis in Tbilisi, Georgia.
The portrait of the Georgian King Teimuraz II returns to Homeland
The portrait of the King Teimuraz II belongs to the collection of Bagrationi Dynasty
Georgian song Suliko performed at the Frankfurt Buchmesse 2018
Georgia was granted an incredible title this year.
Representatives of Georgian wine companies assess Georgian Wine Festival 2018
Georgian Wine Festival 2018 gives unique possibility to around 50 companies to present their wine to hundreds of Georgians and tourists.
Representatives of the government attend Georgian Wine Festival 2018
“Georgian Wine Festival 2018 is a celebration of a successful Rtveli (vintage)” – says minister of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia Levan Davitashvili.
PHOTO OF THE DAY

Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
19.01.2019
20.01.2019
USD
1
USD
2.6629
2.6629
EUR
1
EUR
3.0368
3.0368
GBP
1
GBP
3.4463
3.4463
RUB
100
RUB
4.0103
4.0103