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VIĻĀNI (WELONEN)

           The town of Viļāni is located on the banks of the Malta River, 29 km west of Rēzekne. The development of the town from the mid 18th century was assisted by the building of a Bernadine cloister and St. Michael’s Catholic Church on Viļāni Manor land. The construction was financed by the nobleman Mihail de Rik, who became the owner of this district in 1725.
          The Viļāni St. Michael’s Cloister Church (construction completed in 1772) has a treasured place in Latvia’s sacral architecture. The composition of the façade of this two-towered church was achieved by following Rococo trends, in other words by abandoning the classic order that had been followed in European architecture for centuries.
          The interior has been changed several times, but art lovers can still find an element that has survived from the time the church was built. This is a portrait of the church’s sponsor Mihail de Rik (1772), an example of Sarmatian painting that entered the sacral art of Latgale via Poland.

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