"During this jubilee year, 500 years after Sittow's lived, the artist's personal exhibition will bring his rare work to his hometown of Tallinn for the first time," Jaanus Rohumaa, head of the Estonia 100 organising team said. According to him, the Sittow exhibition is the star event of the Estonia 100 anniversary summer.
More than 60,000 people visited the exhibition at the Washington National Gallery between January 1 and May 13 of this year. The exhibition "Michel Sittow, Estonian Painter at the Courts of Renaissance Europe" is open until the 16th of September in the large hall of the KUMU Art Museum. "KUMU's great event in the centenary year is the newly opened exhibition of Michel Sittow's paintings," Sirje Helme, Director of the Art Museum of Estonia said.
Art historians consider Sittow to be one of the most prominent masters of the Renaissance period, whose work has only been re-discovered in recent decades. "The fact that Sittow’s paintings have been brought together from the largest art museums and private collections makes this exhibition an incredibly special Estonia 100 event," Helme said.
In addition to the exhibition, three special books have been published. The international English-language exhibition catalogue has been compiled by curators John Oliver Hand and Greta Koppel. A comprehensive Estonian-language book about Michel Sittow, detailing the artist's life, creativity and connections with Tallinn was published for the KUMU opening. The author of the book is curator Greta Koppel.
For children, Anti Saar has written and Urmas Viik has illustrated the storybook "Milda, Master Michel and I". The presentation of the catalog and Michel Sittow's book took place on the 9th of June in the KUMU atrium. The presentation of the children's book took place on Sunday, June 10.
The exhibition also features a multifaceted supplementary program. More information is available on the KUMU Art Museum website.
The curators of the exhibition are Greta Koppel from the Estonian Art Museum and John Oliver Hand from the National Gallery in Washington DC.
WHO IS THIS ARTIST?
Michel Sittow, the painter from Tallinn, was an artist in high demand, who was a highly regarded master in Europe at the turn of the 15th to 16th centuries. He worked in many courts of Europe, from Spain to the Netherlands, unlike, for example, his contemporary Leonardo da Vinci. Due to his travelling way of life, the traces of Michel Sittow's activites and work have been scattered, resulting in the artist being virtually forgotten for centuries following his death. Sittow's paintings were mistakenly long attributed to the most famous masters of his time, such as Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein. Details of his personal history and origin in Tallinn were not re-discovered until 1940.