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Medal for the Agricultural and Industrial Exhibition in Lithuania

Author: Adomas Galdikas (1893–1969)
Material:silver-plated cooper
Dimensions:5.90 × 5.90 cm

Kaunas, the interim capital, was a growing city. Art and architecture were often used for the purpose of promoting the young state. Although ethnographic elements prevailed, other symbolic images that summed up the Lithuanian identity were also used. While the residents of Kaunas wanted to view their capital as a modern European city, rural culture, which was seen as preserving the Lithuanian spirit, was combined with the history of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.

The link between national and modern Kaunas is clear in the medal that Adomas Galdikas (18931969) designed for the Lithuanian Agriculture and Industry Exhibition. A Modernist vision of Kaunas is also evoked in a reproduction of the work Exhibition by Arbit Blatas (19081999). It shows a radiophone tower and stylishly dressed people beside a luxury car, while Taurus, the symbol of Kaunas, is integrated into a cogwheel, a feature of industry, which also appears in Galdikas’ medal. Thus, the image of Kaunas was not as plain as it might at first appear, for its creators drew not only on ethnography, but also on old classics, romantic Historicism and ideas of progress and modernisation, which coincided with people’s outlook during the interwar period.

Text authors Dovilė Barcytė and Ieva Burbaitė

Source: Law firm Valiunas Ellex art album KAUNAS–VILNIUS / 1918–1945 (2021). Compilers and text authors Dovilė Barcytė and Ieva Burbaitė
Expositions: "1918-1945 / Kaunas-Vilnius", 27 August 202021 August 2021, Lithuanian Art Centre TARTLE (Užupio St. 40, Vilnius). Curators Dovilė Barcytė and Ieva Burbaitė.