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Permanent exhibition of the furniture pieces of the
poet and diplomat Jurgis Baltrusaitis
 
Address: Didzioji g. 4, LT-01128, Vilnius. Tel./faksas (8-5) 2120841, tel. (8-5) 2124258
 
Virtual exhibition >
 
Vilnius Picture Gallery in the Chodkevicius Mansion offers the viewer a long-term exhibition ‘Lithuanian Art from the sixteenth to the early twentieth centuries’. Several rooms furnished in the style of Classicism showcase furniture pieces and other applied art artefacts from the collections of the Lithuanian Art Museum. The furniture pieces owned by the poet and diplomat Jurgis Baltrusaitis are part of the exhibition that is annually renewed.

Since 2002, the ground floor of the Vilnius Picture Gallery in the Chodkevicius Mansion hosts an exhibition of valuable furniture pieces that belonged to the symbolist poet and diplomat Jurgis Baltrusaitis (1873-1944). His roots were in Lithuania, but the poet lived in Moscow, on Pakrovka Street. The furniture from the poet’s Russian flat was brought to the Lithuanian Art Museum. Before exhibiting, it was restored at Pranas Gudynas Restoration Centre of the museum.
Jurgis Baltrusaitis was born on 2 May 1873 in the village of Paantadvardis, in Jurbarkas region. In 1903 with his wife he moved to live in Russia. The same year their son Jurgis was born, the future celebrated art historian and professor at Paris Sorbonne University.
The six-room flat on Pakrovka Street was originally bought by the family of Baltrusaitis wife, M. Olovianishkova, later they passed it to the Baltrusaitis. The family lived in the flat until 1939, including the period when Baltrusaitis served as Lithuanian ambassador to Russia. The flat was not lavish, but spacious. The poet’s huge library featured collections of books by Russian poets and paintings, the works by the poet M. Voloshin, a friend of M. K. Ciurlionis among them.
The exhibition features a set of valuable drawing room furniture pieces. It is of Russian work, dated around 1830-1840. The set is a specimen of the early Russian Biedermeier, yet of stricter forms, reminiscent of Empire style. The set includes an oval table, a console table, a settee, two armchairs, five chairs, and a fireplace screen. The wooden carcasses of the furniture pieces are veneered in Karelian birch and decorated with guilt in bronze carvings of the stylized acanthus leaves, pall metes, flowers and wreaths. The carved in relief ornaments are arranged symmetrically and glued to the front of the furniture pieces. The soft parts of chair backs and seats are upholstered in non-authentic cotton cloth. This set originally stood in the drawing room of Baltrusaitis home in Moscow that was frequented by Russian artists and intellectuals of the first half of the 19th century, B. Pasternak, K. Balmont, A. Block and others.
In the 1990s a precise copy of this set was made in Lithuania and can now be seen in Vilnius in one of the representational halls of the President’s Office.
The exhibition features also an office set that belonged to Baltrusaitis. It is an acquisition of the Soviet period (1983-1984) by the museum. On the decree by the Lithuanian culture minister it was brought back to Lithuania from the then Lithuanian permanent representation of the Council of Ministers. The set is made of two armchairs, four chairs, a settee, a large table, and a bureau. The furniture pieces are probably Russian and belong to the end of the 19th century or the early 20th century. Neo-Renaissance in style, the set is embellished with Renaissance wood carved ornaments. The chairs, armchairs and the settee feature imposingly tall backseats upholstered in leather toned with dark brown paint. The furniture pieces are especially massive and of stocky proportions inherited from the Renaissance.
On display is also a lofty bookcase of the second half of the 19th century created in Germany, probably in Köln. It once stood in the poet’s office-library. The bookcase, currently in the collection of the museum, is offered for public viewing for the first time after its restoration. The carcass of the bookcase is of five segments. The front surfaces of the piece are veneered in walnut, inlayed with precious woods and decorated with turned and carved wood. The top tier of the bookcase is crowned with a massive broken wood cornice. The door is fitted with expensive polished glass. This lofty bookcase in the style of Neo-Renaissance and the items it contained are mentioned in the memoirs on the flat of Jurgis Baltrusaitis.
The collection of the Lithuanian Art Museum contains some other furniture pieces that once belonged to the poet.
The unique exhibition of the furniture pieces once owned by the poet and diplomat is also used as a reading hall of specialized publications on culture and art history. The library collection has been amassed from personal collections by different art historians and researchers (A. Laucevicius and others) who presented their valuable books to the Lithuanian Art Museum. The library of Jurgis Baltrusaitis is a venue of literary evenings and meetings of the Board of Jurgis Baltrusaitis Fund.
The Jurgis Baltrusaitis Fund appears under special protection of the Lithuanian president Valdas Adamkus. It is chaired by Donatas Banionis, board members are Viktorija Daujotytë, Justinas Marcinkevicius, Nina Mackevic, Vytautas Kernagis, Raimondas Banionis, Saulius Sondeckis, Audrius Siaurusevicius, Laimonas Tapinas, Nerijus Numavicius, Laimutis Pinkevicius, Algirdas Kumþa and Romualdas Norkus.

 

 
 
 
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