Imants Lancmanis

Imants Lancmanis: I cannot imagine myself outside of books

Latvian art historian and heraldry specialist Imants Lancmanis calls himself ‘a product of books’. In his childhood – a time when his world view was forming – he spent a lot of time reading. The project ‘Library’ is focused at popularising reading and shares an interview with the former director of the Rundāle Palace museum Imants Lancmanis who shares his views on the value and importance of literature for each individual and society.

Imants Lancmanis shares in an interview that ever since his childhood he was drawn to and inspired by history and knew it was the field for him. His urge to discover and inquire knowledge has led him to the field of heraldry and art history, and he studied it with the help of books and literature. In his story about literature, Imants Lancmanis shares interesting incidents from his professional life, for example the time when books from a mysteriously vanished library were recognised and “found” solely thanks to him being interested in heraldry and knowledgeable.

In the video story Imants Lancmanis also shares the nuances of his personal taste in books. ‘Many think that I am mostly interested in academic science, something calm, collected and correct – not at all! I especially love drama! I enjoy the emotional experience provided by Dostoyevsky and Shakespeare’

The former director of Rundāle Palace museum in the interview speaks about the book that he’s working on with his colleagues – ‘Family Coat of Arms in Modern Latvia’ (original name: Dzimtu ģerboņi mūsdienu Latvijā). It is a unique, two-part publication, that will provide information about the history of armorial bearings in Latvian territory from ancient times until nowadays.

The full interview with Imants Lancmanis can be seen in the project’s homepage There you can also watch other of the already published interviews – with the writers Nora Ikstena and Māris Bērziņš, the archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church Zbigņevs Stankevičs, the Director of the National Library of Latvia Andris Vilks and The Director of the Latvian National Library Foundation Kārina Pētersone , the Chairperson of the Supervisory Board and the Bank’s shareholder Valērijs Belokoņs, the former president of Latvia, Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga. In the next couple of months there is a plan to also publish interviews with the poet and translator Uldis Bērziņš and the Head of the National History Museum of Latvia Department of ethnography – Sanita Stinkule.