Thursday, October 02, 2008

New School

We're sure to have another report from another far-flung locale soon, but for now, we're back in Riga. Our neighborhood here is amazing. We live on the edge of the Art Nouveau district (or, the Jugendstil district as it's known, since there were more Germans than French hanging around Riga in those days). When your correspondent thinks of Art Nouveau, he first thinks of perhaps the Paris Metro. Riga is considered a capital of Jugendstil, at least in terms of what's surviving today. And the style here, mostly, means screaming people. We have many buildings in the blocks around us that feature figurative details. As often as not, those figures' faces look like they're witnessing a train wreck, or passing a kidney stone, or trapped in a room with two guys talking about their Fantasy Football teams. It is not yet clear to me what it was in the zeitgeist of those days that made architects think, "when someone looks at this building, they should see the building looking back and seeing the abyss of mortality." Or something. Apparently it was "new."

The above picture is at the very top of the facade of a six-or-so-story apartment building.

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