Art and architecture

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In the first half of the XVII century, artists were still true to the renaissance style, but by the middle of the century baroque had become dominant.
In Estonia, woodcarvers were the most significant artisans, especially Christian Ackermann from Köningsberg, who worked in Tallinn. Masons worked on the ring shaped gravestones, meant for the wealthier farmers and estate-officials. Artists started painting more portraits and buildings were decorated with baroque wall- and ceiling paintings.
In different cities around Estonia, different amount of construction work was done. Most of it happened in cities ravaged by war: Tartu, Pärnu, Narva. Tallinn maintained most of its medieval appearance. Several tower caps were replaced with newer and fancier baroque ones: the Town Hall, Dome Church, Church of Holy Ghost and church of St. Nicholas. The smaller towns did not really recover during the XVII century and remained simple wooden settlements.
The most construction was done in the wealthy and fast growing Narva. Great community structures were completed; among these were: church of St. John - initially called the Dome Church, also the Town Hall and Stock Exchange Building.
As for city defensive structures, the Swedish era brought forth some great changes. The Livonian war showed that the medieval walls, towers and moats prove little resistance to powerful cannons.
Towns were now being fortified with bastions: pentagonal piles of soil and dirt held together by walls, there were rooms for soldiers and equipment inside. In the middle of the bastion stood an artillery platform from where fire could be directed at many angles. Most of the bastions were planned in Tallinn, but only three were completed. Bastion construction in Narva went well, and even Tartu saw a few completed. The building of these ground altering bastions was an extensive task, and on several occasions they were replaced with cheaper quadrangular redoubts..

Image: baroque portal in Narva.

Source: Ain Mäesalu, Tõnis Lukas, Mati Laur, Tõnu Tannberg. Eesti ajalugu I. Avita, Tallinn 1995
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