24 February - 9 June 2024 (east wing)
Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911) is the most important visual artist and composer from Lithuania. Due to the isolation of the country for many decades, his work in the west remained unknown for a long time. It was only after the independence of the Baltic states in 1990 that his work was rediscovered internationally. Major exhibitions in Germany, France, Japan, the United States, England and Belgium, among others, gave him the place in the canon of European modern art that he deserves.
“Compare it with Norway: suppose you put painter Edvard Munch and composer Edvard Grieg together in one person, then you have a nice idea.” –Pianist Rokas Zubovas (1966)
Museum Belvédère is the first museum in the Netherlands to dedicate a retrospective to the work of this Lithuanian master.
At the beginning of the last century, Čiurlionis developed his own symbolic style, drawing on Lithuanian sagas, myths, fairy tales and folk beliefs as well as non-Western cultures, ranging from Ancient Egyptian, Indian to Asian. Using the drawing as a basis, Čiurlionis made many tempera paintings in which secrets are evoked and the earthly world is connected to the supernatural.
Instead of reality – as we (re)know it – he depicted a different world with his work. This depiction of unprecedented images and worlds is a common thread through his work. He was never concerned with abstractions, but with the mentally imaginable.