Restoration of the pediment is part of the restoration works of the Museum building, designed by Lithuanian architects Processoffice. The pediment is crowing part of the main facade of the Latvian National State Museum of Art. Restoration has started in 2013.
Beginning of the 20th century marked an important step in the growth of the City. Demolition of the city walls in 1863 promoted development of the former suburbs during the second half of the 19th century. Since then, besides the construction of rent houses, forming majority of the current City centre, several public buildings were constructed, too. In 1903 the City Council undertook construction of the Museum of Fine Arts. Being designed, supervised and later guided by architect and art historian Wilhelm Neumann (1849—1919), the Museum structure comprised all current technical and technological knowledge of the period. Neumann visited several museums in Europe before construction started, and so the Bode Museum in Berlin (architect Ernst von Ihne, 1897—1904) is believed to become the main source of inspiration for him, showing direct parallels in neo-baroque facade, “flowing” central staircase as well as in interior details and the exposition manner originally used.
The group, as suggested by Professor Eugene J.Dwyer, presents allegories of the arts of ceramics and painting at the left and architecture and sculpture at the right, with Minerva (Pallas Athena), general patroness of all the arts, in the center.
The prototypes of the group – as explained by the Mg.Art. Vija Strupule – includes (from the right):
Homer – greatest of ancient Greek epic poets,
Hephaestus – the Greek god of blacksmiths, craftsmen, artisans, sculptors, metals, metallurgy, fire and volcanoes
Hestia (?) – a virgin goddess of the hearth, architecture
Athena – in this case – the goddess of the arts, crafts, and skill.
Calliope – the muse of epic poetry, believed to be Homer’s muse, the inspiration for the Odyssey and the Iliad.
The classic prototypes of the other sculptures is unclear.
The background shows birch trees on the left and the arched facade to the right, thus opposing the creations of the God to the creations of men.