Reflections of the Changes Typical of the Era in the Early 20th-Century Décor of Krekenava Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Summary)

Regimanta Stankevičienė (PDF)

The paper analyses the exterior and interior décor of Krekenava Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary built in 1896–1900 in the Historicist style. The décor was created in 1900–1905 by professional artists familiar with the artistic heritage of the Western Europe. The paper updates data on and analyses the following artists and artworks: façade sculptures created by a Polish sculptor Hipolit Kasjan Marczewski as well as the relief of the Good Shepherd attributed to this author; interior wall moulding designed by Jan Heurich, an architect from Warsaw (and manufactured by local masters?), and the high altar in Gothic Revival style designed by Heurich and made of oak in the workshop of Aleksander Zaborski in Šiauliai, Lithuania; and the high altar painting “Christ Blesses and teaches the Children of Krekenava” by Roman Szwoynicki. The author of the paper examines the themes, motifs, and symbolic meanings of the artworks, moulding, the altar, and its new painting, as well as their connections with the devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary traditionally upheld in Krekenava parish and with a miraculous painting of Madonna and Child worshipped in this church. The paper searches for prototypes, contextual artworks and phenomena that have influenced the clients and the creators of the décor. It ascertains that the said décor is characteristic of its time but is an exceptional rather than a typical example. In terms of shapes, it has a considerable dose of Retrospectivism typical of the ecclesiastical art of the time but its iconography features clearly visible threads of thoughts and stories associated with the ideas of patriotism and national identity that signify changes happening in the era.

Keywords: Krekenava Basilica of the Blessed Virgin Mary, exterior decor, interior decor, Hipolit Kasjan Marczewski, Jan Heurich junior, Roman Szwoynicki, Aleksander Zaborski