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Vilnius townscape with St Casimir’s Church

Author: Vytautas Mackevičius (1911–1991)
Created:ca 1970
Dimensions:146 × 200 cm

bottom right: V Mack

This large and realistic picture by Vytautas Mackevičius (19111991) shows an everyday view of Town Hall Square, which in Soviet times was called Museum Square. Pedestrians hurry past, leaving the centre of the composition empty, and their arrangement in space is chaotic and momentary; a woman in a yellow blouse casts a quick glance at the artist. His aim was to show the dynamic life in Vilnius in the late 20th century. This is evidenced by the details, the appearance of passers-by, and the green car in the distance. In the background is St Casimir’s Church, but the top of the dome is cut off by the top of the picture, and the towers without crosses show a secularised face of the city, a socialist reality in which there was no room for relics of the past such as religion. In Soviet times, St Casimir’s Church was turned into a museum about atheism.

Source: Law firm Valiunas Ellex art album VILNIUS. TOPOPHILIA I (2014). Compiler and author Laima Laučkaitė
Expositions: “Vilnius. Topophilia. Views of Vilnius from the collection of the law firm Ellex Valiunas”, 5 October – 26 November 2017, National Gallery of Art, Vilnius (curator Laima Laučkaitė) "Free and Unfree. Lithuanian Art between 1945 and 1990", 9 September 202130 April 2022, Lithuanian Art Centre TARTLE (Užupio St. 40, Vilnius). Curators Dovilė Barcytė and Ieva Burbaitė.