“Christian Ackermann. Tallinna Pheidias, ülbe ja andekas”

“He is not ashamed to appear with his person before the eyes of an honorable office, as if he were Pheidias of Athens or the master of the Colossus of Rhodes […] we ask to defend ourselves against the shameless intrusion of this nosy and boastful fellow […] we humbly ask to put a limit to the self-authority and insolence of Christian Ackermann…”

With these words, the Tallinn carpentry board started a dispute against the sculptor who arrived in Tallinn from Königsberg in 1674, who, despite the rich reception, soon became the most important sculptor in Swedish Estonia. At the time, Christian Ackermann received an exceptional written permit from Tallinn City Hall to work as a freelance craftsman. With his participation, all the most important art commissions were completed in the following years – altar walls of Lutheran churches, pulpits, Calvary groups, as well as epitaphs of wealthy townspeople and nobles.

Christian Ackermann was active in Tallinn for more than 30 years and brought local wood sculpture to the high baroque level. His masterpieces are the statues and ornaments carved from linden wood on the altar wall of the Tallinn Cathedral. The research project dedicated to Christian Ackermann brought together specialists from many disciplines between 2016 and 2020 and brought a lot of new knowledge about the master’s life and work. Based on them, an exhibition was organized in the Niguliste Museum and a book was written, which, in addition to Ackermann’s era and creative history, gives an overview of the carving technique of his workshop and the working methods of contemporary painters.

Authors: Tiina-Mall Kreem, Triin Kröönström, Isabel Aaso-Zahradnikova, Hilkka Hiiop and Anneli Randla
Reviewers: Merike Kurisoo, Lea Kõiv
Editor: Anneli Randla
Estonian language editor: Hille Saluäär
Translation into English: Peeter Tammisto
English Editor: Richard Adang
Design: Andres Tali
Photos: Peeter Säre, unless otherwise noted

512 pages, in Estonian, richly illustrated
Estonian Academy of Arts, Tallinn City Archive, 2020

ISBN 978-9916-619-04-9

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Posted by Neeme Lopp