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HISTORY AND MEMORY. The Watercolours of Romanas Borisovas

14 October 2020–20 June 2021
Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania

An exhibition presenting Neringa - the Lithuanian Capital of Culture -
in Lithuania's capital city, Vilnius

The National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is organising an exhibition of works by Romanas Borisovas, the famous artist, traveller and chronicler of the old architectural heritage of East Prussia and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – History and Memory. The Watercolours of Romanas Borisovas. It presents 78 exclusive works created over more than four decades, and includes watercolours and sketches revealing the vanishing architectural heritage of this region – old churches and chapels, palace and castle ruins, laneways and courtyards.

These are certainly special works – they are as realistic as photographs, yet are shrouded in mystery and a sense of nostalgia for the past. The images allow us to get in touch with the varied and rich world that flourished so many years ago. In many of his works, the artist has consciously shown the historical buildings so mercilessly ravaged by the passage of time and human action, leaving their barren, neglected skeletons overgrown with weeds. He is like a historian, only one that uses images rather than words to powerfully capture traces of the past, unveiling the unique balance between tragicism and grandeur. These watercolours by Borisovas are a masterfully conceived form of documentary material that reflects reality and arouses sensations of longing for the past.

The structure of the exhibition was dictated by the author's broad geographical and historical vision and the critical issue of vanishing heritage objects. That is why it comes as no surprise that besides the cultural heritage from Vilnius, the capital and most important historical centre of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (Old Vilnius – Part I), visitors also have the chance to see cultural heritage objects found in today's Ukraine and Belarus (The Heritage of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Part II), and the rapidly changing, disappearing East Prussia (Part III), whose historical identity is rapidly diminishing and that would best be known exclusively by the name Kaliningrad.

A separate part (Sketches) consists of several sketches by the artist that give us an insider's peek behind the scenes of the painter's work, his creative process and the accompanying moments of reflection.

Exhibition initiator 
Romanas Borisovas

Exhibition organisers 
National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Romanas Borisovas

Exhibition concept and exposition plan
Živilė Mikailienė
Marijus Uzorka

Exhibition publishing coordinator
Živilė Mikailienė

Exhibition scientific and cultural activity coordinator
Gintarė Rožėnaitė-Rozovienė

Exhibition educational activity coordinators
Laima Nosevičienė
Nelija Kostinienė

Exhibition technical installation coordinator
Kęstutis Karla