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APRIĶI (APPRICKEN)

          Apriķi (a small inhabited site 62 km from Liepāja and 12 km from Aizpute) is home to a 17th century Lutheran Church which is justifiably regarded as the pearl of sacral art in Kurzeme. It obtained its colourful, blue and gold toned interior in the mid 18th century. The small structure is comprised of a single congregation room, a chorale with a polygon apse and a tower, above which rises a high pyramid spire. The general composition of the interior is in a refined Rococo spirit, while individual sculptural and ornamental formations have distinct Baroque tendencies. This apparent contradiction has a simple explanation: while the wooden altar, pulpit and noblemen’s pew decorations were created in the mid 18th century, earlier Baroque details fashioned around 1710 were incorporated.
          The church’s ceiling frescoes are outstanding monuments of monumental painting. Depicted above the altar creating an impression of infinite space is a sky with Gloria and angels, while the middle distance ceiling is covered by allegorical images, and above the organ loft an entire angle orchestra can be seen making music with true Rococo grace and artistic exuberance. It is believed that the artist was the German Christian Bernhard Rode, who worked in Apriķi from 1744 to 1748.
          After seeing the church, make sure you also visit the nearby Apriķi Manor. This residential building on the right bank of the Tebra was built in 1745 when the proprietor was Kristof Frederick von Ostenzaken. The façade of the relatively simple single story building is decorated by a grand pediment moulding with the coats of arms of the von Ostenzaken and von Korf dynasties (Kristof Frederick von Ostenzaken’s first wife was a member of the latter) in the centre, encircled by military paraphernalia. Rich 18th century finishing fragments can be seen in the interior of the house: a Rococo furnace with painted tiles, intarsia door leafs and parquet floors.

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