Friday, 15 July 2016

Tallinn: Kadriorg Park


We decided to head out of the city centre today and explore Kadriorg Park and especially the Kumu art museum. However, we were only a few yards from our hotel when I spotted this interesting art deco-ish building in Tartu (street).

The entrance stairway seemed to have attractive tiles, but a closer inspection revealed that they were rather crude. The lift however was surrounded by a superb decorative arrangement.

We headed east along Estonia, Consiori and Raua, noticing, as we got nearer to the park, an increasing number of rather elegant wooden houses. These two, in Lydia Koidula, were especially impressive.

We turned into A Weizenbergi which, rather by chance, turned out to be the principal road through the park, first passing the Swan Lake with its pretty pavilion ....

... and then Kadriorg Palace, which was built in 1718 for Peter the Great as a summer residence. Peter loved Estonia and said that if he had controlled the country in 1700 he would have built his European capital in Tallinn rather than in St Petersberg. This is of course a scanned postcard.

Further along we come to the Kumu art museum. It is a beautiful building which was designed by the Finnish architect Pekka Vapaavuori. Construction started in 2002 and the museum was opened in 2006. The interior is spacious and airy.

The first thing we saw was a group of four busts by August Weizenburg (he of the road we had just walked along) including one of Lydia Koidula, who was an early nationalist writer. A nice coincidence!

The exhibition spaces flow into each other and we enjoyed a ramble through the history of Estonian art, including an interesting group of impressionists who had lived the life of penniless artists in Paris. I did especially like this triptych - Lennuk by Nikolai Triik, (1910).

Perhaps the most arresting exhibit was a room filled with a large collection of busts, accompanied by a soundtrack suggestive of people talking.

Conditions: grey and showery.

Distance: four miles or so. You can get a bus or tram I think, but we always prefer to walk when we can.

Rating: four  and a half stars.

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