01 January 2005 - 01 January 2025
St. Nicholas’ Church, dedicated to the patron saint of merchants and seamen, is architecturally one of the most integrated and harmonious medieval churches in Estonia. Damaged during the Second World War, the church was restored, and in 1984, it converted into a museum. The museum’s collection includes such valuable art treasures as a high altar created in 1478–1481 in the workshop of Hermen Rode, a unique fragment of the famous painting “Danse Macabre” (end of the 15 th c.) by the Lübeck master Bernt Notke, the Altar of Mary (master of St. Lucia legend, ca 1500), and many others. The Silver Chamber displays the silver treasures of the guilds, trade guilds, and the Brotherhood of the Black Heads. In addition, organ concerts and festivals take place in this church having superb acoustics.
The high altar of the St Nicholas' Church was made between 1478–1481 in the workshop of Hermen Rode, 'Dance Macabre' Detail master from Lübeck. Paintings on the outer flanks of this double-winged altar depict the life of St Nicholas, the central part and the unfolded wings expose over thirty polychrome wooden sculptures forming the so-called gallery of saints.
Danse Macabre – painting by the Lübeck master Bernt Notke – depicts the inevitable transcience of life, the figures of Death taking along the mighty as well as the feeble ones. Only the initial fragment, remained of the original painting with up to 50 figures representing all the medieval social positions, can be seen in the St Nicholas' Church. It is most likely the painter’s renewal of an analogous painting in Lübeck dating from 1461, accomplished at the end of the 15th century.
The altar of St Anthony or the Altar of Christ`s Passion was made at the beginning of the 16th century in the Netherlands by the Brugge master Adrian Isenbrandt and later complemented by Michel Sittow, a Tallinn artist of all-European renown. Also the altar of Mary, made in 1495 by an artist known as the author of the "Lucia Legend", as well as the altar of the Holy Kin (the so-called Brussels altar) from about 1490, made in Jan Borman’s workshop of carved altars in Brussels, are displayed in the church.
Rasen decorative screen Since the end of year 2002 unique 350 years old decorative screen of Bogislaus Rosen's chapel carved by Frans Hoppenstätt is also opened for visitors.
A branch of the Art Museum of Estonia
3 Niguliste St, Tallinn 10146
phone: (+372) 644 9911
How to come:
Niguliste Museum is situated at Harjumägi at the foot of Toompea Hill. The grand Baroque spire is on ...
(+372) 631 4330
Niguliste 3, 10146 Tallinn