Wednesday, 1 January 2014

The Genius and the Devil in Kaunas, Lithuania

My understanding of art is as deep as the one of the fly on the window. But I happened to have a book about Ciurlionis as a kid and I would spend hours staring at his strange and otherworldly visions. Until one day .... 

The story goes like this.
Allegro by M.K. Ciurlionis 1908
Allegro 1908

How I got to Kaunas

I took a minibus from Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania).While I was travelling, the skies seemed to fall lower and lower, really close to earth. I had an unusual feeling. Grey and wintry northern beauty was unravelling in front of me, at the beginning of May.

It takes you roughly 1 h and 30 minutes to get to Kaunas. I roamed through the streets, asking people where the Museum of Ciurlionis was. Nobody knew. They all sent me to the museum of the devil instead. I was beginning to lose hope and decided to see at least that one. 

The museum of the devil

If you dare to enter, you will find yourself among more than 3000 representations of the devil in various shapes, materials and styles. Bear in mind that most of them were actually given by former visitors. From 1st September to 1st June on Wednesdays EU citizen can go free.

King of Lithuanian Devils 1966, Museum of the Devil
King of Lithuanian Devils

Thousands of tiny figures of the devil but I had come t see the prophetic paintings of the Lithuanian genius.

Friendship 1908, by M.K.Ciurlionis
Friendship 1908

M.K. Ciurlionis and the National Museum

I went on with my quest. Somehow I found the big National Museum of Art. The exhibitions consisted of multiple ethnographical objects of Lithuanian art from ancient times to this day.I was looking at the artefacts one after another, and they were interesting but i was beginning to lose spirit...After all, I had come all that way to meet my childhood dream! And then, all of a sudden, they were in front of me. The amazing colourful pictures from outer space, fantastic flowers, cosmic landscapes and weirdly shaped rocks with eyes...The magic world of the genius was revealing its secrets in front of me.

For his age of 35 he left a legacy hard to be classified and encompassed – about 300 pictures and 200 music compositions, none of which sold in his lifetime. He earned some fame in Poland, Russia and Germany before World War I, but then fell into oblivion. Until recently...

Back in the museum I could not take myself away from the magnetism of this visionary art. I must confess I don’t know much about art but Ciurlionis relates to your inner self. He creates a world of vision and imagination with some deep memories from the archetypes. 

The Thought 1904, by M.K.Ciurlionis
The Thought 1904

Nothing more to add! If you want, get acquainted with his paintings and life at and (image sources).

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