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There are some 2,700 artistic monuments in Latgale, according to a list that was prepared by specialists in the field of cultural monuments. These are works of fine and applied arts which, in most cases, have survived in the region's churches and cemetery chapels and which can be dated from the 16th to the 20th century. The contacts which the region has had with various European arts phenomena over the centuries reveal a specific choice of sources of inspiration and the involvement of specific professional foreign artists in fulfilling orders from Latgale. The dominant direction in the artistic heritage created under the influence of the Catholic Church's traditions is the Southern direction' which filtered into Latgale via the experience of Central European artists. This can be seen most clearly in late-Baroque stucco sculptures in Latgale, and is connected with sculptors of the so-called Vilnius Baroque center. Further evidence of links with the artistic pursuits of Southern European Catholic countries is found in the fact that paintings by Andrea del Sarto, Guido Reni, Bartolome Esteban Murillo and others were localized or copied for altars in Latgale's churches. 19th century links with the countries of Central Europe, in turn, are evidenced in the fact that such artists as Jan Matejko, Jozef Peszka, Apolinary Horawski and Kazimierz Alchimowicz, among others, were commissioned to do work for churches in Latgale. The traditions of ancient Russian art came into Latgale along with the arrival of Old Believers from the Orthodox Church in the late 17th century. Most of these people came from deep within Russia's heartland, bringing along icons, books and items of metalwork - collections there were updated over the course of time. Many items were created on the spot, and this work continues to this very day in such towns as Daugavpils and Rezekne. The style of these artworks is dominated by influences from Northern Russia, but there are traces of other regions, too, including some echoes of Western art. In other words, the presence of both the Eastern and the Western Christian church helped to establish the colorful uniqueness of culture in Latgale.
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