National Museum of Lithuania

Inv. No. IM-4621

Address: Arsenalo str. 1, Vilnius

Time of origin: 1700–1812

Place of origin: Lithuania

Material, Technique: bronze: casting, turning, cizeling

Dimensions: height – 49 cm, diameter – 24 cm

The chandeliers with a large sphere at the bottom of the stem were started to produce with the establishment of Baroque culture in the Netherlands in the 17th century. They widespread throughout Europe and because of their origin are often referred to as Dutch or Flemish chandeliers [4].  There are chandeliers of very similar shape and decoration in Ukraine [2] and Poland.

The chandelier preserved in the National Museum of Lithuania belongs to a stem type. The stem is made of profiled tubes, with a stylized bird figure at the top and a polished up to shining sphere at the bottom. Six arms of the chandelier are S-shaped and mounted to the disc beyond the sphere. Each hole at the top of the disc to receive the arm and each arm was marked by a caster with a specific number of embossed dots. The hand-finished details were not perfectly accurate. Each arm was tailored to its specific location, so it was labelled with a specific number. Just a little higher on the stem, another smaller disk for reflectors is threaded. There should have been six reflectors; however, to the present day, only three of them have survived. Bird figures are cast on the curves of the arms. They not only performed a decorative function but also reflected the candlelight with a polished surface.

The chandelier belonging to the National Museum of Lithuania according to its structure is one of the most typical hanging chandeliers that predominated in Europe during the Baroque period. In Lithuania, a small number of this type chandelier has preserved. The chandelier could hang in a secular or sacral building (church or synagogue).

Literature and sources:
  1. Kačinskienė Klaudija, Mažeikienė Ona, XVI–XX a. pr. apšvietimo priemonės, Vilnius: Lietuvos TSR istorijos ir etnografijos muziejus, 1980, p. 33.
  2. Kantsedikas Aleksandr Solomonovitch, Masterpieces of Jewish Art. Bronze, Moscow: Imidzh, 1991 (katalogo puslapiai ir iliustracijos nenumeruoti).
  3. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, „Sietynai Europoje ir XVII–XX a. pirmosios pusės sietynai Lietuvoje“, in: Kultūros paminklai. Vilnius: Savastis, 2009, Nr. 14, p. 89.
  4. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, XVII a.–XX a. 4 dešimtmečio sietynų paveldas Lietuvoje: Daktaro disertacija, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 2015, p. 30, 225.