Museum of Photography:
Nocturnal views of Tallinn from the City Museum’s art and photograph collection

City at night Nocturnal views of Tallinn from the City Museum’s art and photograph collection. 30th May – 16th September.

The images in the City Museum’s art and photograph collection reveal the city in very different moods. Early summer is Estonia’s lightest period when days are longest, so this is an appropriate time to introduce night-time views that, with a few exceptions, were drawn from the Tallinn City Museum’s own collection.

A city at night has many faces. It can be mellow and calm, or aggressive and intimidating. The former quality predominates in the pictures at the exhibition, such as a Maks Roosmaa etching where dawn’s first light may be glimmering; but in the vicinity of a quiet side street a party may be in full swing or revolutionaries might be gathering, as depicted in a watercolour by Oskar Raunam. Hans Soosaar has trained his documentary photographer’s eye on encounters and illuminations at night. The city at night also contains sophisticated lighting ads such as on a work by Ernö Koch and Ilmo Liive’s diapositive enlargement of the Café Moskva, or one can stray down a dingy Old Town street as in a linocut by Erich Pehap. We might smell the early morning aroma of coffee in our dreams, but in reality, a garbage truck may have driven down the street before us, heralding the end of night and the beginning of morning. And so every urban dusk-fall can start with a line from Baudelaire: Voici le soir charmant, sweet  evening comes…but the rest of the story may be very different.


Curators: Risto Paju, Tanel Verk

Designer: Lilian Juhkam

Copy editor: Maarja Valk

Translation into English: Native Speaker OÜ

Theodor Gehlhaar
after Johannes Hau
Burning of St. Olaf’s Church 15/16 June 1820
Tallinn City Museum









Erkki Erich Merila
Tallinn Burning II
Photography Museum’s photograph collection