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Ants Laikmaa Berlin 1913 pastel, paper 19 × 29 cm

When Ants Laikmaa finally returned to Estonia from his long years of exile, the last stop where he spent a fair bit of time was Berlin. There he also met Nikolai Triik, who painted a well-known portrait of Laikmaa. It is known that Laikmaa was in Berlin for the first time and consequently he tried to quickly record his impressions of the city using pastel technique as he walked about the city. This building is Berlin’s Cathedral, which at that time was one of the newer pearls of Berlin’s architecture (completed in 1905). The building was so big that it was considered the Lutherans’ answer to St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Laikmaa did not stop at merely admiring the building, rather he blended it in with the city’s surroundings: the trees of the park beside the church can be seen, and people are depicted walking in front of the church.