Lithuania’s Genius – M.K. Čiurlionis

M.K. Čiurlionis 

September 22 marks the 147th anniversary of Lithuania’s most famous artist, Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis  (1875–1911). He is known as a genius, having created about 400 musical works and 300 paintings. Certain towns and cities in Lithuania (Varėna, Druskininkai, Vilnius, Kaunas, Plungė, Rietava and Palanga celebrated his birthday on September 21, as part of a national cultural commemoration called Čiurlionis’ Journey. Programs included musical, creative and instructional events throughout the month, with films and exhibitions of his work and artifacts chronicling his personal life. On September 24 the National M.K. Čiurlionis Art Museum in Kaunas opens its doors with special events, lectures and workshops for young and old. The final event of this cycle is a concert on September 25 in Čiurlionis’ birthplace, Varėna, at the Church of St. Michael the Archangel.

An exhibition called “M. K. Čiurlionis: Between Worlds” at Dulwich Gallery in London, England, opened on September 21, with 100 Čiurlionis paintings from the gallery in Kaunas. “It is one of the largest collections ever shown abroad. Only Ghent has had a bigger exhibition. The most famous works of Čiurlionis went to London,” said Daina Kamarauskienė, head of the museum. The exhibition was curated by British curator Kathleen Soriano. “It’s very interesting to see how she interprets the paintings. She has arranged them in different themes – Cosmos, Nature, and Music. She has presented Čiurlionis in such a broad global context, in a very unique way,” according to Kamarauskienė. The exhibition has already received good reviews from the first visitors and British media. The exhibition, which will be open for six months, will be accompanied by a rich educational programme, including concerts, discussions, and lectures on Čiurlionis’ work and legacy.

His wife Sofija remembered Čiurlionis’ frustration on being asked to explain his art. He said: “Why don’t people look for themselves and stretch their spirit? Every person approaches a work of art differently”. Organizers encourage visitors to be “open to creating their own light”.

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Photos from Dulwich Picture Gallery FB page