“LITHUANIA – THE LAND OF CROSSES”

Lithuanian crosses are a unique phenomenon. In 2001, UNESCO included Lithuanian cross-crafting in the representative list of masterpieces of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

They are a synthesis of faith, tradition, artistry and craftsmanship. Lithuanians built crosses in memory of the dead or as symbols of spiritual protection. It is believed that, in pagan times, wooden pillars (the forerunners of crosses) marked extremely important places at homesteads and burial sites.

Christianity did not take hold easily in Lithuania. The cross was associated with invasions by the crusaders and the Livonian Brothers of the Sword. Nevertheless, the second wave of Christianization, successfully started by the Jesuit monks in the 17th century, won villagers over by imparting a new Christian meaning to the old customs and symbols: the signs of the sun and the moon used by the Balts were treated as a symbols of the virgin birth of Jesus.

Slowly, chapels and crosses were being erected everywhere – in the fields, by homesteads, near roads and at crossroads as protection for travelers, in forests, cemeteries and as adornment of sacred sites. Their abundance is unique.


Exhibitions and events

“THE ARCHAICS: LITHUANIAN FOLK ART XVIII–XX C.”

Permanent exhibition

The exposition aims to unfold our nation’s cultural heritage of the 18th – 20th centuries through the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art’s collection of Lithuanian folk art which is comprised...

"That which we do not remember" exhibition by William Kentridge

Temporary exhibition at Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art until 30.11.2022

Kaunas 2022 Europien Capital of Culture William Kentridge - One of the world’s most influential contemporary artists. An honest and painfully candid humanist, whose exhibitions are coveted by the...

Stasys Ušinskas’ Marionettes and the International Aesthetics of Modernism

Temporary exhibition at Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art until 28.08.2022

Stasys Ušinskas (1905–1974) is undoubtedly one of the most proficient and innovative representatives in the art history of Lithuania who had uniquely synthesized the characteristics of Lithuanian...

Art and Money

Temporary exhibition at Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art from 30.06.2022

The Exhibition “Art and Money”. Dedicated to the 100th Anniversary of Lithuanian National Currency – the Litas   The exhibition provides a number of engaging stories: visitors will find out...

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