Echoes of the Arts and Crafts Movement in the Works and Activities of Lithuanian Artists in the early Twentieth Century

Giedrė Jankevičiūtė (PDF)

In the early twentieth century, Lithuania was the Northwestern Krai of the Russian Empire. Authors of Lithuanian origin were largely influenced by the cultural processes they immediately encountered while living in Russia or in the part of Poland that was part of Austria. Central Europe and its eastern part looked to rural craftsmen for inspiration. It was of great significance in the period of national liberation. Since the early twentieth century, in Lithuania, following the example of Russia, Poland, Latvia and other culturally and geographically close countries, there has been an intensive development of the researching, collecting and popularising movement of traditional rural crafts. One example is the study, collection and popularisation of Lithuanian crosses, which formed the basis for the revival of cross-carving and the spread of this motif in works of art. Due to the specific conditions of Lithuanian culture, the movement of applied art and fine crafts education did not acquire a broader scale and more pronounced forms in the early twentieth century, but it significantly impacted the creation of individual authors. The ideas of the Arts and Crafts Movement found resonance in Lithuania as early as the nineteenth century. However, it manifested itself in the creation of artists of Lithuanian origin only in the early twentieth century. The influence of the Arts and Crafts movement shaped the type of versatile artist capable of working in several creative fields, which was particularly popular in the 1930s and 1940s.

Keywords: rural craftsmen, Northwestern Krai, traditional rural crafts, cross-carving