Only from the second half of the 19th century. a native monumental architecture developed in Estonia From the 13th to the 17th century. mainly German influences had been predominant in the country, also thanks to the presence of foreign architects, while from the 18th century. Russian influence was important (Kadriorg palace, designed by N. Michetti and finished by M. Zemzov, 1718-23). The neoclassical style dominated the architecture from the second half of the century until the first half of the 19th century, as evidenced by the rebuilding of Tartu after the fire of 1775; later historical styles took hold, with neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque buildings, inspired by the activity of architects from Germany north and from the Baltic. At the beginning of the 20th century. the theater with the concert hall of the Wanemuine association was built in Tartu, based on a design by the Finnish A. Lindgren. Finnish architecture set the standard and many buildings were built by Estonian architects on Finnish examples. Estonia Habermann and Estonia Johanson erected, partly on the foundations of the ancient castle of the Teutonic Order, the most original building of Estonia, the Parliament building. Alongside a classical trend, there is a progressive and original trend, aimed both at modernizing the ancient Baltic tradition and at creating new forms. A functionalist trend, still revived in the architecture of the 1950s, was revived in 1960-70 (T. Rein, V. Künnapu, T. Kaljundi); starting from the 1980s a postmodernist approach is evident.
- In 19th century painting. emerges J. Köhler-Viljandi, professor at the Petersburg Academy, author of portraits and historical paintings. Also worthy of mention are the landscape architects KL Meibach and O. Hoffman, who represented the life of the peasants. While these painters worked abroad, mostly in Petersburg, the next generation settled in their homeland. We remember A. Laipman, portrait and landscape painter, and P. and K. Raud. The painters active at the beginning of the 20th century. they were mostly educated in Paris: thus the landscape painter K. Mägi and the portraitist N. Triik, also notable for his graphic work; precursor of the Cubist and Futurist tendencies was A. Vabbe.
- Among the sculptors, the neoclassical A. Weizenbeg should be remembered. Against this tendency AH Adamson, naturalist, author of commemorative monuments of the liberation war reacted; we also remember J. Koort, inspired by É.A. Bourdelle, W. Melnik, A. Starkopf, author of commemorative monuments of predominantly architectural inspiration.
- In the context of the new trends, it is worth mentioning T. Vint, graphic designer and theorist, who since the mid-1960s has encouraged the rediscovery of the protagonists of the Estonian avant-garde of the 1920s. The cubo-constructivist tendencies of this avant-garde have influenced the ‘work by L. Lapin, which is then inserted in soc-art (➔Russia). In the 1980s a tendency to recover the national romantic tradition emerged (L. Sarapuu, J. Arro). The lively atmosphere linked to the regained independence found expression in the performances of S.-T. Annus, R. Kurvitz and J. Toomik. From those related to the activity with the T Group, active in the first half of the 1990s, Estonia-L. Semper proposes himself as the protagonist of his videos, focused on the expression of pain and horror.
- The exhibition activities of institutions such as, for example, the Estonian Museum of Art and the Soros Center for Contemporary Art, both in Tallinn, are important.