Čiurlionas road in Lithuania
Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis is one of the most unique creators, who has left a bright mark in the culture both of Lithuania and the whole world. In just ten years of his creative career, he has created about four hundred pieces of music. In just six years as a painter, Čiurlionis painted more than three hundred paintings, created graphic works, left works of literature and poetry, appeared in journalism, and experimented in artistic photography. Čiurlionis is a versatile personality, as his notebooks from the studies at the Warsaw Music Institute reveal his interest in geology and history, chemistry and geometry, physics and astronomy, astrology and mythology, ancient and modern languages, classical and new philosophy, Eastern and Western religions. We invite you to get to know this unique artist better through his life and creative path in Lithuania, sometimes simply called the Čiurlionas road.
We will start our acquaintance with M.K.Čiurlionis in Senoji Varėna of the Čiurlionis’ father Konstantinas was an organist and lived with his family in a house near the church in 19 century. The current church is close to the forms and rhythms of Čiurlionis’ work. The open belfry is reminiscent of Čiurlionis’ painting “Spring Symphony”.
We continue to Druskininkai, where the whole Čiurlionis family moved when the little creator was only two years old. The house of M. K. Čiurlionis in Druskininkai has now become the memorial museum of M. K. Čiurlionis. The spirit of the artist and his family is felt here everywhere. The Čiurlionis family harmonica (musical instrument), the piano donated to M. K. Čiurlionis by Mykolas Oginskis, the first author’s paintings, M. K. Čiurlionis’ creative room, the palette of M. K. Čiurlionis and the authentic piano played by the composer during his studies in Warsaw attract the eye. The early works of the artist of the early and late period can also be seen in the museum.
Let’s find out what Villa Linksma is, where the Druskininkai City Museum is located is connected with M. K. Čiurlionis. This place is like a business card of the resort. M. K. Čiurlionis came to this villa “Linksma” to teach his youth friend, the youngest daughter of the villa owner Gražina Kiersnovskytė, to play the piano, and he used to paint nature with another sister Zofija Kiersnovskyte. Intriguing, isn’t it? ..
We will end our walk around Druskininkai at the monument to M. K. Čiurlionis and acquaintance with M. K. Now let’s continue with Čiurlionis in Kaunas. 1908 M. K. Čiurlionis had to come to the first Lithuanian art exhibition in Kaunas by train. From the Aleksotas observation deck in 1908. M. K. Čiurlionis and Sofija Kymantaitė admired the panorama of the city and the Nemunas.
We will see a building in which in 1925 the jubilee exhibition of M. K. Čiurlionis’ works was organized in the gallery that opened its doors. In the same year, the first permanent exposition of M. K. Čiurlionis’ works was opened.It remained there until 1937.
We will find out in which safe the paintings of M. K. Čiurlionis were stored during World War II (from the flood of the Nemunas in 1942 to 1946). Let’s visit one of the oldest and largest art museums in Lithuania, built and established between the wars – the national M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum. And here is the only place in the world where almost all the creative legacy of the most famous Lithuanian artist, composer, writer and public figure M. K. Čiurlionis is accumulated.
Čiurlionis road near Kaunas does not stop. In Lithuania it continues and we are going to Rietavas, where many places are related to M.K. Čiurlionis. First we visit the magnificent Rietavas St. Michael the Archangel Church. Duke Irenėjus Oginskis at the end of the 19th century, built an impressive neo-Romanesque sanctuary at his own expense. Due to its architectural expressiveness, Rietavas Church became an architectural decoration of the whole Samogitia. The pride of Rietavas is the historic chandelier of 100 bulbs, where on morning Easter 1792, for the first time in Lithuania, an electric light shone! Probably during these celebrations M. K. Čiurlionis played in the joint Rietavas and Plungė orchestra.
Let’s admire the places of Rietavas related to the great artist and hurry to the Malūnas pond. Four islands give a special charm to the pond, the views of which were once admired by M. K. Čiurlionis. In one of them, on the Island of Musicians, farewell concerts of Rietavas and Plungė musicians took place. M. K. Čiurlionis’s flute will also be played there. Looking from the side of the Red Gate Alley, the silhouettes of the pond islands seem to draw the contours of Čiurlionis’ painting “Peace”.
We continue our journey in the footsteps of Čiurlionis and visit Plungė. In the old wooden St. In the Church of st. John the Baptist, M. K. Čiurlionis together with other students of the manor orchestra school played and sang in the church choir. In 1909 In the summer, when M. K. Čiurlionis settled with his wife Sofija Kymantaitė with her uncle, priest Vincentas Jarulaitis, he often played the organ on Sundays during the Mass. M. K. Čiurlionis played so sensually, beautifully, and the organ music spread so majestically that it seemed that even the roof of the old church was moving!
We hurry to the park of M. Oginskis Palace, where the so-called “musician” of the manor stood .Mykolas Oginskis established a music (orchestra) school in his manor around 1873 and had an orchestra of 35-50 musicians. In 1889–1893. M. K. Čiurlionis also visited Mykolas Oginskis Manor Orchestra School in Plungė.
The decoration of Plungė, M. Oginskis Palace is also associated with Čiurlionis. Today, the Palace is used as Samogitian Art Museum, which houses exhibits reminiscent of M. K. Čiurlionis. One of them is “C.BECHSTEIN” the 19th century piano with an interesting history: not only the conductor Pranas Dovydavičius, but also M. K. Čiurlionis played it. The museum has prepared historical material that sheds light on the traces of the artist’s work and life in Plungė. Let’s meet!
In the former stables of the manor of Duke M. Oginskis every year since 2006 the International Mykolas Oginskis Festival is held every year and opens on the last Saturday of August. Music reigns here for a whole month. One day of the festival is dedicated to the memory of M. K. Čiurlionis. This is the day of the festival, when Čiurlionis returned to Plungė.
We finish discovering Čiurlionis’ path in Plungė at the monument dedicated to him “The Tale of Kings ” (sculptor D. Matulaitė, architect J.Balkevičius) in 2018. It was built in the manor park where a young artist once sought inspiration in his alleys, matured and grew up on a flight into the art world. The monument was created on the basis of one of M. K. Čiurlionis’ most famous paintings “The Tale of Kings”.
We will find the last memorials of Čiurlionis road in Palanga. Let’s take a walk around Birutė Park. 1908 M. K. Čiurlionis spent July in Palanga with his fiancée Sofija Kymantaitė. Čiurlionis lived near Birutė Park. It is probable that the route of the couple’s walks led both to the park and towards the palace and Birutė hill, as Tiškevičius was a friend with Oginskis, and Čiurlionis studied music in Plungė.
The memory of Čiurlionis in Palanga is marked by the international M. K. Čiurlionis Music Festival, which has been taking place here since 2013. In Palanga, the performers give concerts in the Kurhaus Hall, in the rotunda of Birutė Park and in the Tiškevičius Palace. The festival in Palanga opens on July 6 with a concert on the terrace of the Tiškevičiai Palace. A rose dedicated to Čiulionis was planted in the nominal rose alley near the palace.
We finish Čiurlionis’ road in Lithuania on the Palanga pier. The Count Tiškevičius pier to the Sea in Palanga was built in 1882. Summer travelers, especially Sofija Kymantaitė, the future Čiurlionienė and Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, especially loved the promenade as a place for meetings and walks.