"CHRISTIANITY IN LITHUANIAN ART"
(28 December, 1999 - 31
Lithuania entered the Christian world at the moment, when it was
dominated by the Gothic art. The earliest pieces of church art were
brought into Lithuania mostly from Central Europe (Poland, Germany). The
imported works and foreign painters who arrived to decorate Lithuanian
churches introduced new Christian iconography and aesthetics, which was
willingly accepted by the local artists and elaborated by their own
artistic experience. The early church art in Lithuania was indebted
equally to the Western art and the Byzantine tradition which spread from
the Slavonic territories of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The scarce surviving Gothic wooden sculpture created in Lithuania
represents diverse stylistic trends. St Martins sculptural group is
characteristic of German Gothic. Graceful and elegant, it is reminiscent
of court art. The Crucifixion group characterized by calm and peaceful
balance of suffering and inner strength was initially housed by Vilnius
St. Francis of Assisi Church, one of the most ancient churches in
Lithuania. St. John the Baptist sculpture originally located in the Labunava
Cemetery Chapel exemplifies popular rural style.
Merkine Church Madonna represents religious painting in this
exhibition. Composition of this painting as well as the types of faces
are reminiscent of the Byzantine painting, yet the clothing, sketchy
folds of the drapery, the background of the painting reveal belonging to
the Western Gothic style.
The tradition of decorating paintings on board by floral patterns and
gilt survived in the local tradition as late as the early 17 c.
The Renaissance brought into the church art more flexible arrangement
of freely modeled figures (The Virgin and Child of the Old Trakai, St
Fine religious art by the painters representing national trends in
the European painting of the 16-17th centuries in its transition from
the Renaissance to Baroque periods is of much interest in this display.
Harmonious Renaissance forms and humanistic world outlook characterize
the Madonna with Child by the unknown Italian painter of the 16th
century. The Maries approaching the Sepulchre by Antonio Campi and the
Feast in the House of Pharisee by Benedetto Caliari bespeak of the
artists interest in the human being and his surroundings. The Entombment
painted in the workshop of Jacobo Bassano, St. Ursula and Virgins by
Bartholommeus Spranger show the traces of Mannerism of the 16th century.
Christ in the Tomb by Lodovico Carracci represents the Anti-Mannerism
trend of Bologna Academy. Bartholommeo Schedone who took his lessons in
realism from the innovator Caravaggio is represented by his Caritas.
The Italian Baroque is represented by the paintings St Paul the
Hermit by Salvatore Rosa, St Sebastian by Guido Reni and the playful
Virgin at Loreto attributed to the circle of Pietro Berretini da
The Finding of Moses by Jann van Boeckhorst and Christ in Emmaus by
the unknown artist of the 17th century display rich forms and textures
cultivated by the artists of Flandres. Lot and his Daughters by Johann
Michael Rottmayer, is a vivid representation of Austrian Baroque.
Realistically modeled figures of saints and emotional expressiveness are
characteristic of Spanish Baroque painting, represented in the
exhibition by St Mary Magdalene by Francisco Ximenez and the Priest with
the Cross by Juano Rizi.
The display features local Baroque too. The 17th century saw a heavy
impact of the Italian Baroque on Lithuanian art supported by the donors
such as the Pacai, the Sapiegos and other families of the nobility. In
the 18th century the ties with the German and Austrian artistic centers
grew closer. Alongside universal Baroque qualities the Lithuanian
Baroque exhibited unique regional features determined by the Lithuanian
temperament and world outlook. Big and diverse heritage of the
Lithuanian Baroque is represented in the exhibition by Szymon Czechowicz
paintings, which initially were to decorate the churches of St Catherine
and the Holy Heart of Jesus in Vilnius. Paintings and sculptures by the
unknown artists of Vilnius and other Lithuanian provinces, which
originally were located in the Lithuanian churches and cloisters, are on
New Exhibitions. Section about the new exhibitions in the Lithuanian Art Museum