Hommage to the Donors. The Beginning of the Vilnius Picture Gallery

21 October 2021 – 17 April 2022

Bartholomeus Spranger (1546–1611)? St Ursula with Female Martyrs. The Lithuanian National Museum of Art. Photo by Antanas Lukšėnas

The exhibition Hommage to the Donors. The Beginning of the Vilnius Picture Gallery is an act of memory and gratitude to the people who donated works of art to museum institutions founded at the start of the 20th century. Today, their collections make up the oldest and most valuable core of exhibits of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art. It is an exhibition about the origins of the museum’s collections – gifts donated by private individuals. The scope of the exposition allows only for the display of the collections of the main patrons, thus the exhibition consists of four sections:  The Collection of Władysław Tyszkiewicz, The Collection of Kanuty and Bolesław Rusiecki,  The Legacy of the Fiorentini Dynasty, and The Contribution of Antoni Kołb-Sielecki.


The Museum of Antiquities was closed down following the 1863 Uprising, and Vilnius was left without any museums presenting Lithuania’s past, culture or art heritage. Trade in antiques that could serve as a reminder of the times of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania was also banned. When Tsar Nicholas II declared his manifesto granting his subjects the rights to speech, assembly and association, the Polish intellectuals of the city immediately began to establish museums. Public figures and philanthropists founded two institutions in 1907 – the Society of Science and Art Museum (Towarzystwo Muzeum Nauki i Sztuki w Wilnie) and the Society of Friends of Science in Wilno (Towarzystwo Przyjaciół Nauk w Wilnie). Inspired by feelings of patriotism, in a matter of time manor lords and intellectuals assembled an enormous library and a collection of archival documents, historical, archaeological, natural and cultural objects in which works of art also held an important position.


Exhibition visitors will be acquainted with donations by Vilnius Society of Science and Art Museum, the Society of Friends of Science in Wilno, Władysław Tyszkiewicz (1865–1936), Kanuty and Bolesław Rusiecki, Fiorentini Dynasty, and Antoni Kołb-Sielecki.




Exhibition curators: Laima Laučkaitė, Rima Rutkauskienė


Architect Saulius Valius


The project is financed by 


New catalogue of the exhibition Hommage to the Donors. The Beginning of the Vilnius Picture Gallery


Compiled by/Texts by Laima Laučkaitė


Catalogue of the publication compiled by Rima Rutkauskienė


More information here.




Current safety regulations require the visitors to wear face masks and maintaining social distance of at least 2 m. Please follow the instructions given by the museum personnel and the signage that is placed throughout the museum floor to help encourage proper social distancing. Don’t forget to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your elbow before coughing or sneezing. Exhibitions and permanent exhibits can be visited without the Green Pass. Entrance to exhibition openings is possible with the Green Pass only.

4 Didžioji st, Vilnius, Lithuania
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