Baltic Journal of Art History https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah <p>THE BALTIC JOURNAL OF ART HISTORY is a publication of the Department of Art History of&nbsp;the Institute of History and Archaeology of the University of Tartu.<br><br>The concept of the journal is to publish high-quality academic articles<br>on art history of a monographic character or in shorter form. These<br>articles are focused on new and interesting problems and artefacts<br>that can help broaden the communication and interpretation horizons<br>of art history in the Baltic Sea region and Europe. The journal has an<br>international editorial board and each submitted manuscript will be<br>reviewed by two anonymous reviewers. The board will pass the decision<br>on publishing the article on the basis of a short summary as well as the<br>full text and reviewers’ opinions.<br>The languages of the journal are English and German, but next to them<br>also Italian and French.</p> University of Tartu Press en-US Baltic Journal of Art History 1736-8812 Picturing Melancholia in Estonian Decadent Art https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.01 <p>The article focuses on Estonian decadent art of the early twentieth century that manifests the topicality of melancholia: visual art that depicts sadness, low spirits, malaise and suicidal behaviour. The article seeks to answer why portrayal of the feeling of malaise and low spirits were so widespread from the beginning of the 20<sup>th</sup> century, and how Estonian artists imagined and visualised melancholia.</p> <p>I argue, that during the period under examination, increasing attention was paid in Estonia to mental health issues, including melancholia, which was brought about by discussions about breed and the surfacing ideas of eugenics and the study of heredity. At the same time, degeneration theories began to gain ground, according to which contemporary civilisation was bound to degrade, and an increase in mental problems was seen as a sign of that degradation in addition to various social and cultural processes. In addition, Estonian artists were influenced (directly or indirectly) by foreign artworks, literature and poetry that deal with the tragical and horrific side of humanity, such as mental health issues. I argue that artists depicted melancholia in a symbolic manner mainly through body language and body parts, but that the condition was also conveyed through the use of natural imagery and colour.</p> Lola Annabel Kass Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.01 Depiction of Lenin and Stalin in Estonian Art as an Indicator of Shifts in the Soviet Authoritative Discourse https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.02 <p>The paper provides an analysis of changes in depiction of Soviet leaders by Estonian artists<br>during the period of Soviet occupation of Estonia. More specifically, changes in the<br>iconography of Lenin and Stalin are viewed in light of Alexei Yurchak’s concept of<br>performative shift of the Soviet authoritative discourse.</p> <p>During the over 40-year period of Soviet occupation conventions of depicting Lenin<br>and Stalin underwent several notable changes that more or less reflected shifts in the Soviet<br>politics as well as the developments in Estonian arts. The paper argues that changes in the<br>depiction of the leaders amounted to the fundamental meaning and message of these works of<br>art. Especially from the end of the 1960s, an increasingly playful and ironic undertone<br>prevailed.</p> <p><br>In using the depictions of the Soviet leaders in Estonian art to test the aforementioned<br>theoretical constructions, the paper however concludes that changes in the official discourse<br>in Estonian arts did not wholly conform to the performative shift as described by Yurchak.</p> Tõnis Tatar Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.02 The Decade of Great Myths: Developments in the Estonian Art Scene of the 1990s https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.03 <p>Estonian art life changed radically at the beginning of 1990s,<br>especially with regards to organisational and financial systems. In<br>other words, the collapse of the Soviet cultural system was followed<br>by strong shifts that brought with them changes, in both content and<br>form, within the arts and the institutional mechanisms.<br>This article maps out some of the most notable developmental<br>tendencies that began taking shape after the restoration of<br>independence, for example the meaning of art and the role of cultural<br>journalism and art critique in the new reality. Even though the focus<br>of the text is on Estonia, the changes that took place in the cultural<br>sphere of the 1990s were not location-specific as similar trends existed<br>more or less in all former republics of the Soviet Union.</p> Kadri Asmer Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.03 “The Phenomenon of Culture is the Phenomenon of Bread”: The Debate on Culture in Belarus (1988–1991) https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.04 <p>The scope and content of public debate in the USSR increased radically with the onset of perestroika. The ‘new thinking’ introduced by Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sought to embrace both societal organisation and the individual set of values. This change in political organisation made broad public discussion possible, centring on change as well as the means leading to it. Culture happened to be at the very epicentre of this debate, as it lay at the intersection of collective and private.</p> <p>Socialist culture claimed to be an intrinsically ‘serious’, ‘genuine’ culture setting itself against the ‘trivial’ and ‘superficial’ bourgeois culture of the West. The CPSU used socialist realism to promote and encourage monumental genres in literature (novel and poem), music (symphony), art and architecture.</p> <p>The late 1980s challenged the established notion of culture. In the BSSR (Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic), the younger generation of intellectuals (for the main part literati) explored previously neglected genres of mass culture such as the comic, detective novel, erotica, and rock music, thus questioning the ‘sacred’ status of literature and art. Simultaneously, they pushed the boundaries between the local and the global (looking for worldwide connections with Belarusian culture), past and present (rehabilitating authors and ideas rejected by Soviet censorship).</p> <p>Such semantic processes were coincident with a material turn. A group of intellectuals arose willing to invest personal time and finances into projects that prompted a revolution in the field of culture. Individual efforts had a cumulative effect, in one way or another requiring the re-distribution of public resources: for example, the publishing plans of the state publishing houses, the thematic scope and structure of academic research, school and university education.</p> <p>Considering these two aspects of structural change and relying on publications in the leading intellectual journal of the time, this paper seeks to grasp the features of this structural change. Staying away from teleological, lineal interpretations, we emphasize the discrepancy, contradiction and multilayering of the structural change as understood by Foucault and Skinner. The third concern of the article is the grip of the old language structures with the new discursive reality of perestroika.</p> Tatsiana Astrouskaya Anton Liavitski Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.04 A Controversial Heritage. Residential Architecture of the Transition Period in Estonia https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.05 Riin Alatalu Maris Mändel Oliver Orro Triin Reidla Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.05 Viivikonna – Formation of a Ghost Town Amongst Other East Estonian Oil-Shale Mining and Industrial Town https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.06 <p>The central Stalinist urban ensembles in East Estonian oil-shale mining and industrial townsKohtla-Järve, Ahtme, Sompa, Jõhvi, Kukruse, Kiviõli, Kohtla-Nõmme and Sillamäe areprotected by comprehensive plans and regarded as built-up areas of cultural andenvironmental value; Viivikonna, although similar to these towns, does not boast suchpatronage. Compared to other oil-shale mining and industrial towns, Viivikonna has becomea brownfield nearly completely. What could be the reason for such a difference?Someanswers may be found in history (1946–1980). Viivikonna is the only East Estonian oil-shalemining and industrial town that follows urban planning principles and a pattern, establishedby the Department of Architecture of the Estonian SSR, led by Harald Arman, to this day.However, it is necessary to decide the purpose of Viivikonna in the near future: whether partsor whole of the town are worthy of preservation–both in the economic and aesthetic sense.</p> Siim Sultson Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.06 Impressionistic Search in Artistic Interpretation of Dance at the Turn of the 20th Century https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.07 <p>This paper is an attempt to theoretically comprehend the interaction of classical dance and fineart in the context of Impressionism. The data is mainly based on two representatives of Frenchand Russian art: Edgar Degas and Zinaida Serebriakova. Some impressionistic pursuit insculpture has also been considered. The studied works of the artists, which have their uniquefeatures of compositional organization and stylistic manner of writing and modelling, are viewedas a single process of fine dramaturgy reflected in the meaning of artistic works. A newimpressionistic approach to the theme of dance, which is associated with its expressive and finenature, is stated on the basis of trend generalization of the compositional-visual thinking of theartists at the turn of the 20th century.</p> Tatiana V. Portnova Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.07 Gustav Mootse’s Works in the Periodicals of St Petersburg in the Early 20th Century https://ojs.utlib.ee/index.php/bjah/article/view/BJAH.2020.19.08 <p>The article presents the under-explored St Petersburg period in the work of Gustav Mootse, famous Estonian artist, founder of Estonian book graphics and ex libris master. Upon a thorough archival research of illustrated periodicals, the authors have revealed unknown images by Mootse. Based on those, they make conclusions on stages in Mootse’s creative evolution, show a progressive growth in his standing in St Petersburg periodicals, show his search for forms and experiments, and comment on specifics of his creative work.</p> Elena S. Sonina Olga A. Lysenko Copyright (c) 2020-08-17 2020-08-17 19 10.12697/BJAH.2020.19.08