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Greetings to Vilnius from Lviv. European Art Masterpieces from the Borys Voznytsky Lviv National Art Gallery

Event date: 2023 y.February0216 d. - 2023 y.May0528 d.00:00 All events
Valdovų rūmai
Relevant until 2023-07-20
This year sees the celebration of Vilnius’ 700th anniversary as the eternal capital of Lithuania. Numerous special events are being held to commemorate this anniversary. One such event is this exhibition, which is a gift to residents of Vilnius and guests to the city from our Ukrainian brothers and sisters who are suffering the brutal aggression of Moscow whilst bravely defending their homeland – Ukraine; at the same time, they are defending all of us and all of Europe’s cultural and democratic traditions. Understanding the torment experienced by Ukrainians and the painful sacrifices being made, Lithuanians wholeheartedly support Ukraine, which is fighting an incarnation of evil itself. Deep historical bonds connect Lithuania to Ukraine, going back to the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. A distinct mutual empathy between Ukrainians and Lithuanians, going back centuries, also exists, as does a unique sense of spiritual kinship.
This exhibition features 33 painting masterpieces from two of the main branches of the Borys Voznytsky Lviv National Art Gallery, housed in the Potocki and Lozinski palaces. These paintings are key exhibits from the permanent expositions, true masterpieces of European art. During peacetime, when cultural heritage is not threatened, and art can provide the joy of discovery and arouse feelings of aesthetic appreciation, a collection such as this would not need to be transported out of Lviv, as the museum halls would be left partially bereft of exhibits. Under the conditions of Moscow’s aggression, the organisation of this kind of exhibition in Lithuania is both an attempt to protect this common European heritage from potential destruction and is also an exclusive gift from Lviv on the occasion of Vilnius’ anniversary.
To mark this anniversary year in Vilnius, the Lviv National Art Gallery is giving visitors to the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania an exhibition of priceless treasures, thereby sharing this astonishing European heritage. This is particularly relevant to Lithuania, as the heritage in our country suffered immensely, having been plundered or destroyed. Early European art kept in West Ukrainian residences survived in greater quantities because this land fell under the control of the Austrian Empire following the partitions of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and enjoyed cultural and political autonomy, unlike Lithuania, which ended up in the repressive grip of tsarist Russia. That is why this exhibition allows visitors to remember the lost historical collections of Lithuania that also contained works by a number of artists or schools presented here.
Paintings from the 15th – early 20th centuries by famous Italian, Flemish, Spanish, Austrian, Polish and other countries’ artists have been selected for this exhibition so as to offer a chronological (stylistic) and geographic reflection of the very rich collection from the Lviv National Art Gallery. The organisers also seek to show to the public in Vilnius works painted by the same masters or from the same schools that were once part of the collections of Lithuania’s rulers and magnates. Thus, many of the masterpieces presented here bear relation in one way or another to a Lithuanian context, while also being highly valuable pieces in themselves, reflecting the Gothic, Renaissance, Mannerist, Baroque, Neoclassicist, Romantic and Modern European art epochs. Notably, these works are worthy of a place in any of the world’s art museums.
For example, this exhibition features works by Martin Schongauer and Lucas Cranach the Elder, who in turn influenced the masters who worked for Lithuania’s rulers and magnates. In addition to the cartoons designed by an artist from the circle of Pieter Coecke van Aelst, based on which tapestries were woven for Grand Duke of Lithuania and King of Poland Sigismund Augustus (1544/1548–1572), commissioned while he was residing in Vilnius, the collections of Lithuania’s and Poland’s rulers and magnates once also boasted works by Leonardo da Vinci, Titian, Peter Paul Rubens, Jan Brueghel the Elder, Sassoferrato, Caravaggio, José de Ribera, Luca Giordano and their schools, whose paintings will be on display in this exhibition. Carlo Dolci painted an image of the patron saint of Lithuania, St Casimir, Giovanni Battista Lampi created portraits of the Lithuanian ruler and magnates, and Jan Matejko and Wojciech Kossak captured important events in the history of Lithuania in their canvases.
The international exhibition Greetings to Vilnius from Lviv. European Art Masterpieces from the Borys Voznytsky Lviv National Art Gallery is clear testimony of the shared historical and European bonds existing in the Central and East European region, which are further confirmed by the rich cultural and artistic heritage in Lviv and Vilnius.
Published:: 2023-07-20 15:35 Modified: 2023-07-20 15:40
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