GUIDE TO THE EXHIBITION "CHRISTIANITY IN LITHUANIAN ART"
(28 December, 1999 - 31 December, 2003)

The Lithuanian Art Museum welcomes you to the Vilnius Old Arsenal to admire the exhibition Christianity in Lithuanian Art. The exhibition, comprised of valuable works of art representing different cultural periods and artistic styles - Romanesque, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Classicism, Historicism and Modernism - covers the entire millennium of the Roman Catholic Church in Lithuania - from the St Bruno Boniface mission followed by the first mention of Lithuania’s name (Lituae) in 1009 to the establishment of the Roman Catholic Province of Lithuania in 1926.
Twelve exhibition halls feature jewellery, textiles, painting, sculpture, folk art as well as the documents and books witnessing Lithuania’s path to Christianity. The exhibition, covering 3000 sq m, introduces over a thousand works of secular art not only of the RC Church but also of other traditional Christian confessions in Lithuania - the Orthodox Church, the Old Believers, the Eastern Catholics (Uniats), the Evangelical Reformed Church and the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The focus of the exhibition is the first display of the Vilnius Cathedral Treasury - a unique collection of 14th-20th century art treasures that link centuries-long honourable history of the Church, the Nation and the State with the present day and thus foster a historical consciousness, national identity and civic pride.
Throughout the centuries, the Vilnius Cathedral has accumulated masterpieces of jeweller’s art of the highest artistic quality. They include chalices, monstrances, reliquaries, altar cruets, crosses, portable altars and other artefacts studded with precious stones and embellished with lacy ornaments, as well as relief and enamel compositions. Over a hundred liturgical vessels, church articles, and ex-votos created by famous Lithuanian, Middle and West European goldsmiths from the famous Cathedral Treasury have survived till our days. The rulers, high-ranking church dignitaries, and state nobility - the Gostautas, Radvila, Vaina, Pacas, Sapiega, Tiskevicius and other families - donated them to the Vilnius Cathedral, the national shrine.
Twice a year (on the eve of the National Day on the 6th of July and just before Christmas) the renewed and enlarged exhibition presents valuables of sacred art from all Catholic dioceses. Some of them are on loan from the churches of other Christian confessions, from local and foreign museums, libraries and archives. The Lithuanian Art Museum is sincerely grateful to every institution and person who assisted in this display. The exhibition was opened at the beginning of the Jubilee Year 2000 on 28th December 1999, and will be open till the end of the anniversary year of the coronation of Mindaugas, King of Lithuania, on 30th October 2003.
We hope that the valuable works of Christian art on display will not only evoke outstanding aesthetic impressions and serve as a stimulus for a deeper knowledge of our native land, but will also increase the “burning desire for eternal life” (John Paul II) resting in each of us.

Romualdas Budrys
Director of Lithuanian Art Museum

 

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     Last updated 2011.08.12