“THE ARCHAICS: LITHUANIAN FOLK ART XVIII–XX C.”

The exposition aims to unfold our nation’s cultural heritage of the 18th – 20th centuries through the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art’s collection of Lithuanian folk art which is comprised of 12,000 ethnocultural objects

The title of the exhibition clearly defines the selection criteria: ancient articles that have remained unchanged for centuries, unaffected by urban culture and industrial influences. They are ritual or household objects that amaze with the complexity of forms, techniques and creative details, even though the decorative elements have retained the simplicity of prehistoric times (a dash and a dot – the starting point for the most ancient of symbols and signs known almost worldwide, eg., a swastika, a cross, a grass-snake, a string). On display are handmade items of local raw materials (clay, wood, linen, wool) and meant for everyday use: ceramic tableware, weaving and spinning tools, fabrics and clothing details. Almost all of them have sacral, ritual meaning. This is why the oldest surviving headdress of a married woman, a rare ceremonial wedding cup, distaffs and spindles (the patterns and ornaments of which encode the signs of fortune, fertility and fecundity) have become the keynotes of the exhibition.

Until the early 20th century, territorial isolation was a characteristic feature of Lithuanian peasants’ lives – it predetermined their personal traits, artistic expression and ethnic specificity. As a result, the formation of traditions developed naturally by passing them from generation to generation.

Today, as we try to focus on the natural, the sustainable, the functional and the continuity of our traditions, it is important to consider the origins of our creative Lithuanian identity.


Exhibitions and events

“LITHUANIA – THE LAND OF CROSSES”

Permanent exhibition

Lithuanian crosses are a unique phenomenon. In 2001, UNESCO included Lithuanian cross-crafting in the representative list of masterpieces of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. They are a...

"That which we do not remember" exhibition by William Kentridge

Temporary exhibition at Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art until 30.11.2022

Kaunas 2022 Europien Capital of Culture William Kentridge - One of the world’s most influential contemporary artists. An honest and painfully candid humanist, whose exhibitions are coveted by the...

Stasys Ušinskas’ Marionettes and the International Aesthetics of Modernism

Temporary exhibition at Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art until 28.08.2022

Stasys Ušinskas (1905–1974) is undoubtedly one of the most proficient and innovative representatives in the art history of Lithuania who had uniquely synthesized the characteristics of Lithuanian...

Art and Money

Temporary exhibition at Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art from 30.06.2022

The Exhibition “Art and Money”. Dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Lithuanian National Currency – the Litas   The exhibition provides a number of engaging stories: visitors will find out...

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