The National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum of Art

Inv. No. Tt-11022

Address: V. Putvinskio str. 55, Kaunas

Time of origin: 1885

Place of origin: Central Europe

Material, Technique: bronze: casting, turning, cizeling, embossing

Dimensions: height – 76 cm, diameter – 80 cm

A stem-type chandelier cast in bronze has 25 sconces. The network of arms is elaborate and consists of interchangeable curves. Floral décor motifs of leaves and buds predominate on branches. The stem is thread of many cast ornamented and turn smooth parts and terminates beneath with a bud.

On the vase — the largest part of the stem — a donation inscription in Polish is repoussed: ‘Cechu Zarembackiego 1885 roku sprawiony // Za starszeństwa Józefa Paprockiego i Kaz. Carniaskiego’ (Made by butchers’ guild in 1885// Masters Juozapas Paprockis and Kaz. Černiauskas)*. It is not the only artefact witnessing the activity of the guild. Lithuanian Integral Museum Information System (LIMIS) published an altar candlestick of butchers’ guild. It is preserved in the Lithuanian National Museum of Art [1]. From the photograph by Jan Bułhak in 1930, we learn that there was also a chandelier of the butchers’ guild in Vilnius, which, unfortunately, did not survive (the description of the chandelier is here).

We can hypothesise that the chandelier has been hanging in front of the altar of one of the churches, which has long been cared for by members of the butchers’ guild. Auksė Kaladžinskaitė-Vičkienė states that in the 17th – 18th centuries, not only noblemen and clergy became patrons of churches and monasteries but also wealthy citizens and town organisations — guilds and fraternities. Each guild competed for the ornateness and richness of the altar to reveal the ‘degree’ of the devotion of its members [2].

Although the chandelier is quite typical ware of the second half of the 19th century and does not stand out in terms of décor or artistry in the general context of European works, it has a historical value and is an important relic of the daily history of Lithuanian craftsmen.   

* For the inscription translation, I would like to thank my fellow art critic dr. Regimanta Stankevičienė

Literature and sources:
  1. Birutė Rūta Vitkauskienė „Žvakidė, LDM TM 375“, Lietuvos nacionalinis dailės muziejus, in: LIMIS. Prieiga internete: <>.
  2. Kaladžinskaitė-Vičkienė Auksė, „XVI–XVIII a. Vilniaus amatininkų cechai ir jų altoriai“, in: Lietuvos katalikų mokslų akademijos metraštis, t. XXIV, Vilnius, 2004, p. 95, 107, 111.
  3. Valtaitė-Gagač Alantė, XVII a.–XX a. 4 dešimtmečio sietynų paveldas Lietuvoje: Daktaro disertacija, Vilnius: Vilniaus dailės akademija, 2015, p. 236.