Up until the 20th century, Lithuania had followed the artistic trends and tendencies of Western Europe. The top rated artisans were creating for lord and magistrate estates, while better known local artists created for provincial estates. Unfortunately, many wars that have come across Lithuanian territory, contributed to the loss of the majority of Lithuanian artworks ever produced. Consequently, Lithuanian museums can only offer modest expositions representing the artistic inheritance of the past several centuries.
For your attention, we wanted to suggest two galleries, which you can visit to form a general understanding about Lithuanian artistic development between the 16th and the beginning of the 21st century. The most prominent artists that have dedicated galleries, will be reviewed in another section of our recommendations (below).
We are also thrilled to share that a new modern art museum ‘MO’ is currently being built and will open to the public in 2018. It will display Lithuanian art from 1960s to today.
Lithuania’s’ Painting Gallery (Lietuvos Paveikslu Galerija)
The main exhibition features a chronological artwork display, documenting Lithuanian paintings from the 16th to the end of the 19th century. The Grand Duchy of Lithuania art is best represented by portraiture, painted by local and visiting artists. Lithuania’s Painting Gallery is home to an extensive Vilnius Art School artwork collection (1793–1832 Vilnius University Art Department), including the works by both students and professors. They also host a very extensive exposition of works by painters, who went to continue their studied abroad, after the Vilnius University – Art School had shut down – continuing to Russian, Polish, German, French and Italian professional schools.
Web: Lithuania’s’ Painting Gallery
Address: Didzioji str. 4, Vilnius
Phone: +370 5 2120841, +370 5 2124258
National Art Gallery
This gallery is a showcase of 20th and early 21st century Lithuanian art development: birth of Lithuanian art school, the split of artistic paths during and post soviet era and the most recent tendencies in Lithuanian art. Beside the main permanent display, there are several exhibitions that focus on the contemporary masterworks.
To find the classic Lithuanian painter works, like M.K.Ciurlionis, V. Kasiulis, K.Varnelis, V.K.Jonynas – please follow other gallery recommendations in another recommendation section (below)
Web: National Art Gallery
Address: Konstitucijos ave. 22, Vilnius
Phone: +370 5 2122997
MO – modern art museum
(opening in 2018) The highly anticipated opening of the Modern Art Museum will be home to artworks that have been meticulously collected from 1960s until present day. The collection currently compiles over 4300 paintings, graphic works, photography, sculpture, video-art and more. The collection exhibited will include works by Lithuanian artists who are well known outside of Lithuania. Side note, the collection displayed is a private collection, which together with building of the museum itself is a gift by a local philanthropist to the City of Vilnius and the rest of Lithuania.
Address: Pylimo str. 17, Vilnius