M. K. Čiurlionis, the great master of Lithuanian art, in the Kumu Art Museum
The exhibition in the Kumu Great Hall gives an overview of the oeuvre of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875–1911), the great master of Lithuanian art. The works of art come from the M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum in Kaunas. This is the first extensive overview exhibition of Čiurlionis’s work in Estonia. A few of his original works were displayed in the Art Museum of Estonia as part of the 1983 exhibition of Lithuanian classic paintings; however, this time the exposition includes 55 of his works. The unique artist-symbolist is distinguished by the fact that he was also an outstanding composer, whose musical ideas are reflected in his imaginative visual art.
In addition to Čiurlionis’s oeuvre, the exhibition includes works from his contemporary Lithuanian artists, a total of 65 pictures from the artists Antanas Zhmuidzinavičius, Petras Kalpokas, Mstislavas Dobuzhinskis, Kajetonas Sklėrius, Adomas Varnas, Justinas Vienozhinskis, Jonas Shileika and others. They represent aspirations in Lithuanian art that could be compared to those of the Young Estonia group in Estonia. Dobuzhinski and Sklėrius visited Estonia in the 1910s–1920s and even had exhibitions here.
Čiurlionis was known in Estonia in the early 20th century, even though it was only through reproductions in Russian art magazines. The exhibition of Lithuanian contemporary art in Tallinn in 1937 did not include any of his works; nevertheless, he had some serious admirers here, for instance the poet, translator and critic Aleksis Rannit, who managed to bring the issue of Čiurlionis’s role in the development of European Avant-garde art to the attention of international art critics through a presentation in Paris in 1949. While in the pre-World War II years Čiurlionis’s work was valued outside Lithuania by only a small circle of cultural elite, beginning in the 1960s, numerous exhibitions in various countries increased the artist’s popularity considerably. The M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum in Kaunas is planning to hold two exhibitions this year, one in Tallinn and one in Milan.
Čiurlionis was an active participant in the organisation of the art life of his homeland in the early 20th century, which was the time of the awakening of national aspirations in Lithuania, as it was in Estonia. The roots of his work lie deep in Lithuanian folk culture and national mentality, of which the Lithuanians themselves are growing increasingly more aware as time passes.
The exhibition is accompanied by a newspaper introducing Čiurlionis’s oeuvre.
Press photos: http://digikogu.ekm.ee/filiaalid/kumu/pressimaterjal/year-2010
On 13 May at 11.00 am, a seminar will take place in the Kumu auditorium, with presentations and performances by scholars and musicians from Lithuania and Estonia, including the great-grandson of M. K. Čiurlionis, the pianist Rokas Zubovas.
The curator of the exhibition is Mai Levin, and the designer is Mari Kurismaa.
The exhibition is open until 8 August 2010.
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