Archdiocese of Vilnius

The unique codes in the Cultural heritage register – 37255, 37256

Address: Vilnius

Time of origin: 1800–1829

Place of origin: France (?) / Russia (?)

Material, Technique: bronze: casting, chasing; remains of gilding

Dimensions: height – 135 cm, diameter – 75 cm

The ornament and material of the chandelier make it possible to state that the chandelier was made during the period of the Empire style* — the 1800s–1820s. This is confirmed by similar décor motives published in 1924 by the German architect Alexander Speltz in the album of the ornaments of the Empire period [2].

      The chandeliers belong to the crown with basket style. Each one consists of a rosette on the ceilings, six chains, a ring with 12 arms and a basket. The basket is made of a tracery candelabra-ornament casting. It is noteworthy that the whole concept of chandeliers' décor is revealed when they are lit; the tracery ornaments of the basket are highlighted in the contra light. As typical to the Empire style, the chandeliers are richly decorated with antiquity motifs: laurel wreaths, torches, fastenings of the paired arms covered with cast repoussed figure of the war goddess Athena, and the crown edge is decorated with castings of the sun god Helios chariot with horses. 

      In 2013, the chandeliers were returned to the Archdiocese of Vilnius before being preserved in the Lithuanian Art Museum. These two chandeliers, together with another chandelier belonging to the Archdiocese of Vilnius (Uk 37254), were probably acquired at a similar time from the same workshop presumably operating in France. The chandeliers are a classic example of a professional work of the Empire style.            

*The Empire style is associated with the period of governance of Napoleon I, and in France, it dominated in 1800–1815. In other European countries, such as Russia, England and Poland, the style survived until the mid-19th century.

*Candelabra ornament is a vertical ornament of floral and figurative motifs, which are mirrored on both sides of the perpendicular axis. Žr. Dailės žodynas, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 1999, p. 182.

Literature and sources:
  1. Dailės žodynas, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 1999, p. 24, 182.
  2. Speltz Alexander, Das empire-ornament, Leipzig: A. Schuman Verlag, 1924, tafel Nr. 14.
  3. Stankevičienė Regimanta, Dailės kūrinio aprašai Uk 37255, Uk 37256, 2013, in: Kultūros paveldo centro Kilnojamųjų objektų poskyrio archyvas.
  4. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, XVII a.–XX a. 4 dešimtmečio sietynų paveldas Lietuvoje: Daktaro disertacija, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 2015, p. 273.