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Portraits in Manor Collections - Vilnius Picture Gallery

In almost every Lithuanian manor there were portraits of family members, relatives, the family’s forefathers and those who earned renown in society. In manor collections from the Baroque period, portraits of the extended family dominated. Entire portrait galleries would be formed, which had to demonstrate the family’s early beginnings, its influence and merits in society, and leave an impression on all who happened to see it. Family portraits remained important in later epochs as well. They were not just a form of representation, or a way of preserving memories of a particular family’s ancestors, but also an expression of more intimate personal feelings.
Educated aristocrats who truly appreciated the fine arts would commission Europe’s best artists to paint their family portraits: Michał Kleofas Ogiński and his family had their portraits painted by the Frenchman François Xavier Fabre who lived in Florence, while the Italians Philipp Arons and Oreste Cortazzo created the Tyszkiewicz family’s portraits, etc. Local artists Ludomir Janowski, Kazimierz Mordasewicz and Stanisław Bohusz-Sietrzeńcewicz also gained renown for their impressive portraits of the aristocracy, memorialising numerous members from the Tyszkiewicz, Plater and other families.
On display in this exhibition (14.07.2016 - 16.10.2016) are portraits from the Tyszkiewicz, Ogiński, Plater, Karp, Römer, Jeleński, Zubov and other families, assembled from the Lithuanian Art Museum, the National Museum of Lithuania, the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, the Samogitian Alka, Šiauliai Aušros and Rokiškis Area museums, and the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences. A whole variety of portraits are presented – oil-paint works, pastels, watercolours, sculptural busts and medallions, lithographs and illustrations. Many are being exhibited for the first time. (Text: Vilnius Picture Gallery)