Exhibits. Treasures Acquired and Donated in 2009–2015
18 January–23 April 2017
Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
The National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania is one of four museums in Lithuania that have national status. As it commenced its activities only in 2009, it is less than a decade old, yet it can boast of having a large and interesting collection of museum treasures. One of the museum’s main functions is to ensure such exhibits are collected, researched and made accessible to the public. In the years 2009 to 2015, as many as 78,512 exhibits were added to the museum’s collections. The majority are unique archaeological finds that were discovered during archaeological investigation work in the territory of the Vilnius Lower Castle conducted by the Castle Research Centre Lietuvos pilys. The second part of the museum’s collections are treasures that have been donated, transferred from other institutions or purchased by the museum itself. It is based on these treasures that the museum’s Culture, Art and History Collection was formed, dating back to 2003 when the future Palace of the Grand Dukes exposition received its first exhibit from the physicist and renowned collector, Dr Tomasz Niewodniczański (1933–2010). His kind donation of a piece of graphic art depicting the city of Hrodno from 1568 became the museum’s first exhibit.
The Culture, Art and History Collection was formed gradually. In 2004–2008 the Lithuanian Art Museum was responsible for finding and the acquisition of treasures. From 2009, once the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was established, the museum’s own Collections Commission has taken over this task. Exhibits make their way into the collection in various ways: some are donated by private individuals or institutions, others are acquired at Lithuanian and foreign auctions, from antique dealers, private collections or transferred from other institutions.
From the beginning of 2009 to the end of 2015, the Culture, Art and History Collection has been enriched with 604 different, valuable and new exhibits. An exhibition and catalogue have been organised in order to present this newly formed collection to the public, keeping it informed of the museum’s exhibit collecting activities, which is common practice among many of the world’s museums. Over 100 exhibits, or one sixth of all its treasures, have been selected for display at this, the latest exhibition, which seeks to present the most impressive and interesting objects amassed during 2009–2015 (the exhibition catalogue features all of the treasures collected during the given period).
On display at the exhibition are 16th- and 17th-century tapestries, paintings depicting famous Lithuanian figures from the 15th–18th centuries and religious scenes, graphic art works mostly consisting of portraits of Poland’s and Lithuania’s rulers and magnates, early maps of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, a table clock created in Augsburg in the 17th century, a glass goblet with the heraldic insignia of the King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania Sigismund Vasa and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, early books that were once part of the library of the Sapieha dukes, impressive and significant scientific and art publications from the Renaissance and Baroque epochs, plus many other interesting and never before seen treasures, many of which have been donated to the museum by its generous friends and sponsors. Our museum staff are sincerely grateful to them, and hope to continue working together towards enhancing Lithuania’s national heritage collections.
On display at the exhibition are treasures donated by the families of Andrejus Balyko and Antanas Bosas, entrepreneur and art patron Saulius Karosas, canon Dr Algimantas Vincas Kajackas (1932–2015), academic Prof. habil. Dr Algimantas Miškinis (1929–2015), painter Vladimiras Kasatkinas (1924–2013), artist Venta Jankauskaitė-Mengana, Vytautas Vepštas (1931–2015), Prof. Dr Kęstutis Paulius Žygas, the Honorary Consul of the Republic of Lithuania in Saudi Arabia Mahfouz Marei Mubarak bin Mahfouz, Vytautas Stasys Abramauskas, Fr Julius Sasnauskas OFM and the Bernardine community of Lithuania, entrepreneurs Henrita and Vaclovas Kontrauskas, Prof. Dr Jonas Vytautas Bruveris, Prof. habil. Dr Mečislovas Jučas, Dr Juozapas Blažiūnas and the Antanas Guoga Foundation, the Palace Restoration Foundation and the Bank of Lithuania.
The rich archaeological finds of the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania are the basis of the permanent exposition of the historic and architectural development of the palace. The new exhibits displayed from the Culture, Art and History Collection will become important highlights of the second permanent exposition – the reconstructed representational interiors of the palace.
National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania
Exhibition concept and plan
Exhibition publishing coordinators
Exhibition cultural programme coordinators
Exhibition educational programme coordinators
Exhibition information coordinators
Exhibition technical installation coordinators