The series „Classics of Latvian Art” presents a book about Rihards Zariņš (1869–1939). The artist himself consistently used and his contemporaries also respected the form of his surname Zarriņš.
Rihards Zariņš was the founder of the Latvian national school of graphic art and the father of etching in Latvian printmaking. With a perfect knowledge of the many techniques of graphic art, he shared these skills generously with his trainees at the Graphic Art Master Class of the Latvian Academy of Art and also at the State Bonds Printing Press. Zariņš’ talent found its most brilliant manifestation in his painstakingly perfect execution of design projects for banknotes, both in Imperial Russia and the interwar Republic of Latvia, creating masterpieces of currency that were internationally acclaimed. As a virtuoso draughtsman he united precision with romantic flight of fantasy, illustrating Latvian fairy tales and folk songs, and he also contributed to the satirical magazine Svari and was the illustrator of many book covers; he also designed Ex Libris labels (bookplates) and works of applied graphic art as well as autonomous graphic art.
The artist himself considered the publication of Latvju raksti (Latvian Ornament) as his greatest achievement, a book for which he had been collecting materials since his student years. In his opinions on art, Rihards Zariņš was conservative, with a sceptical view of modern art, fiercely against everything that may have seemed licentious or careless. As a critic he was regarded as harsh but fair, a consistent man with firmness of character.
The series „Classics of Latvian Art” includes books of medium size, offering an easily perceptible information about Latvian classical artists and their works. Similar to the „STUDIJA Library” the series „Classics of Latvian Art” is intended as bilingual (Latvian/English), richly illustrated publications. An attractive supplement at the end of each book is a timeline where the life of Latvian artists can be viewed within the context of world events, revealing connections, parallels or just interesting coincidences.