Archdiocese of Vilnius

The unique code in the Cultural heritage register – 37254

Address: Vilnius

Time of origin: 1800–1829

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

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

Dimensions: height – 115 cm, diameter – 80 cm

The chandelier from the Archdiocese of Vilnius was made during the period of the Empire style — the 1800s–1820s. 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 [1].

The 12 arms of the chandelier are attached to a ring from which the cast tracery ornament of candelabra* falls downwardly. This design allows the chandelier to be classified as a crown with a basket. Six chains hold the ring with arms. The arms are thin, C-shaped, decorated with a motif of twisted shoots and grouped in two. They terminate with cast swan heads, and mounts to the ring are hidden beneath the repoussed lion heads. As is typical of the Empire style, the ware is richly decorated with antique motifs: laurel wreaths, ribbons, putti and palmettes. The chandelier beneath the basket terminates with a black metal sphere with stars and a cone-shaped finial*.

In 2013, the chandelier was returned to the Archdiocese of Vilnius before being preserved in the Lithuanian Art Museum. In 1973, photographer Jonas Šaparauskas had documented not electrified chandelier hanging at the Vilnius Town Hall (the Lithuanian Art Museum operated in the building during 1941–1996).

Two other chandeliers belonging to the Archdiocese of Vilnius were made in the same workshop (see here). In the context of chandeliers surviving in Lithuania, the described chandelier is typologically rare.


* 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.


* Finial [in Latin finire means to end or to complete] — lilac blossom, bud or draped vase-shape decoration used in the decoration in architecture and furniture. Bulb, fruit, leaves or flower bouquet — decoration of the same purpose — is also called finial [1]. Žr. Dailės žodynas, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 1999, p. 125.

Literature and sources:
  1. Dailės žodynas, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademijos leidykla, 1999, p. 24, 182.
  2. Stankevičienė Regimanta, Dailės kūrinio aprašas Uk 37254, 2013, in: Kultūros paveldo centro Kilnojamųjų objektų poskyrio archyvas.
  3. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, XVII a.–XX a. 4 dešimtmečio sietynų paveldas Lietuvoje: Daktaro disertacija, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 2015, p. 273.