National Museum of Lithuania

Inv. No. IM-5102

Address: Arsenalo str. 1, Vilnius

Time of origin: 1887–1911

Place of origin: Central Europe

Material, Technique: bronze: casting, repoussé, cizeling; gilding

Dimensions: height – 65 cm, diameter – 26 cm

The chandelier from the National Museum of Lithuania is of rarer elongated silhouette and ornamentation. The stem is quite typical — in the lower part with two, smaller and larger, spheres and small repoussed discs. An exceptional silhouette of the chandelier is formed by the arms that are wind around the stem. They rise and fall again, rotate into the curves like dancing an intricate dance. The main characters of this dynamic drawing are griffins of the ancient East. In mythology, they are known as escorts of the sun. When they come out from the curves of acanthus leaves facing to the sconces, they seem to protect a source of light from the symbolic bearers of darkness, the snakes. They are barely noticeable, wound around the necks of griffins.

There are many details characteristic to Historicism in the decoration of the chandelier. A binding ornament decorates the sconces, discs and rosettes on the top of the chandelier and a ribbon motif characteristic to classicism decorates spheres on the stem. Ornate wavy lines in the lower part of the chandelier form a silhouette of art nouveau style. Based on this, it is believed that the chandelier was made in the late 19th – early 20th century. He could decorate a Lithuanian manor, possibly its room with oriental motifs.

* Griffin is a legendary creature with the body of a lion, the head, wings and claws of an eagle. Dailės žodynas. Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 1999, p. 150.

Literature and sources:
  1. Kačinskienė Klaudija, Mažeikienė Ona, XVI–XX a. pr. apšvietimo priemonės, Vilnius: Lietuvos TSR istorijos ir etnografijos muziejus, 1980, p. 34.
  2. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, XVII a.–XX a. 4 dešimtmečio sietynų paveldas Lietuvoje: Daktaro disertacija, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 2015, p. 227.