Central and Eastern Europe, Diplomacy, International Journalism and PR

Lithuanian icon Čiurlionis’ works for the 1st time in the Netherlands

Image: H.E. Mr Neilas Tankevičius, ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the Netherlands welcoming the distinguished audience during the opening of the first retrospective exhibition of the Lithuania’s most important composer and artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis in the Netherlands at a Museum Belvédère in  Heerenveen. © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

By Beata Bruggeman-Sekowska

On February 23 a historic opening of a retrospective exhibition of the Lithuania’s most important composer and artist Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911), whose name art historians mention in the same breath with Gustav Klimt, Edvard Munch and Wassily Kandinsky took place in the Netherlands at a Museum Belvédère in  Heerenveen.

The official opening was attended by many distinguished guests including H.E. Mr Neilas Tankevičius, ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the Netherlands,  Mr Arno Brok Commissioner of the King in the Province of Friesland, Deputy Mayor of Heerenveen Ms Sybrig Sytsma and the director of M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum in Kaunas Ms Daina Kamarauskienė.

from left Ms Sybrig Sytsma Deputy Mayor of Heerenveen , Mr Arno Brok Commissioner of the King in the Province of Friesland, H.E. Mr Neilas Tankevičius, ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania to the Netherlands. Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

From left: Mr Herman de Lange Honorary Consul of Lithuania to the province of Brabant, Ms Sybrig Sytsma Deputy Mayor of Heerenveen, Mr Arno Brok Commissioner of the King in the Province of Friesland, Mr Aloys Bruggeman Honorary Consul of Lithuania to the province of Limburg. Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

from left Mr Aloys Bruggeman Honorary Consul of Lithuania to the province of Limburg, Mr Julijus Glebovas Attaché for Commercial Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania to the Netherlands 


During the opening the music works of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis were performed and the opening was followed by a reception during which among others the most famous cheese in Lithuania DŽIUGAS® was served.

During the opening the music works of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis were performed. Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

The opening was followed by a reception during which among others the most famous cheese in Lithuania DŽIUGAS® was served. Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

Museum Belvédère with its Beyond Heaven and Earth exhibition as the first museum in the Netherlands presenting Čiurlionis’works puts emphasis on Ciurlionis’ later works, which were painted with tempera paint. In these works he found a symbiosis between visual art and music in his very unique symbolist style. The exhibition presenting his 100 works is open from February 24 to June 9, 2024.

Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis

Čiurlionis contributed to symbolism and art nouveau and was representative of the fin de siècle epoch. He has been considered one of the pioneers of abstract art in Europe. Čiurlionis  was inspired by nature, Lithuanian sagas, fairy tales and folk beliefs as well as non-Western cultures ranging from Ancient Egyptian, Indian to Asian. He created almost 300 paintings and composed more than 300 pieces of music.

Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

Image © Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Limburg

Čiurlionis works due to the Soviet Occupation of Lithuania and the isolation of the country by the communists remained unknown in the Western countries. After regaining of independence of Lithuania the works of the national icon Čiurlionis started to receive international admiration and his works were presented on various continents, including Asia, North America and Europe and the following countries: the United States, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium and France.

The majority of his paintings are housed in the M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum in Kaunas. In a famous Lithuanian spa town Druskininkai the Museum was founded in 1963 in the house of the artist’s and composer’s Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis’ parents, where he lived and worked in 1896-1910. 

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Author: Beata Bruggeman-Sękowska is an award-winning international journalist, TV correspondent, author, chief editor of international journalism centre, Central and Eastern Europe Centre, president of the European Institute on Communist Oppression and a sworn translator. She was born in Warsaw, Poland and has also Armenian blood and roots in Lvov, which is part of Ukraine. She has been living in Heerlen, the Netherlands since 2005.

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