Old Masters at the Ukrainian Museums.The Bohdan and Varvara Khanenko National Museum of Arts. Borys Voznytskyi Lviv National Art Gallery
18 April – 17 September 2023
Ukrainian and Lithuanian institutional collections of old art have a lot in common. Many of them originated as personal collections of the old families, whose names intertwine with our history: Potocki, Sapieha, Tyszkiewicz, Braniccy, Pszezdecki, Wiśniowiecki. Via paths of inheritance, friendships or blood ties, common interests or, as today, in the face of adversity, these collections travelled from one family residence to another, often hundreds of kilometres, to delight the new owner or simply to survive. Years later the Ukraine–Lithuania route was not forgotten: in the 20th century, wealthy businessmen and public figures joined the ranks of noble collectors, and first public galleries and museums began to emerge due to private initiatives. Their founders were art and history enthusiasts, who knew and supported each other despite geographical distance through personal letters, visits, public texts and gifts.
Neighbourly support is especially needed today. The Lithuanian National Museum of Art actively cooperates with Ukrainian colleagues aiming to draw attention to priceless collections that are currently endangered by the war and require specific protection. These collections are part of our shared world history, part of our common cultural heritage. Regardless of where the works presently are, we need to do everything we can to keep the art works and people protecting them safe.
The exhibition at the Vilnius Picture Gallery consists of two parts. The first part, which includes almost 40 works, consists of paintings by European masters that were presented in the permanent exhibition of the Khanenko Museum or kept in its storage before the war. The museum’s founders, passionate collectors and philanthropists Bohdan Khanenko (1849-1917) and his wife Varvara, née Tereshchenko (1852-1922), bequeathed their private collection to the city of Kyiv in the early twentieth century. Today, the museum is home to the most valuable collection of world art in Ukraine, dating from the II millennium BC to the XIX century. Vilnius Picture Gallery visitors have the opportunity to discover not only paintings by such renowned masters as François Boucher (1703-1770), Anthony Palamedes (1602-1673), and Sir Joshua Reynolds (1723-1792), but also religious paintings, landscapes, portraits, and genre scenes by lesser-known artists from various European countries, each telling their own unique story.
The second part of the exhibition presents valuables from the Borys Voznytskyi National Art Gallery in Lviv. It is the largest art museum in Ukraine, which has 18 divisions. The works that grace the Historical Hall of the Vilnius Picture Gallery are from the permanent collection of the Lozinski Palace, one of the divisions. Many authors of these paintings are well known to Lithuanian and Polish art history lovers. They include Jean-Pierre Norblin (1745–1830) and Johann Baptist Lampi (1751–1830) who worked in the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth sovereign’s estate, representatives of the Vilnius Art School Jan Rustem (1762–1835) and Józef Oleszkiewicz (1777–1830), as well as Polish art masters Jan Matejko (1838–1893) and Henryk Siemiradzki (1843–1902).
These two seemingly very different segments of the exhibition represent diverse cultural heritage of the current Ukraine and its rich museum funds. The works adorning the Chodkiewicz Palace as a set indicate a typical old collection profile, which at the time was very similar in Ukraine as in Lithuania. Thus, the collections of the Ukrainian museums enable us to look back and examine the collections that we lost over the years for exactly the same reasons.
Lietuvos nacionalinis dailės muziejus
Vilniaus paveikslų galerija
Nacionalinis Bohdano ir Varvaros Chanenkų dailės muziejus
Lvivo nacionalinė Boryso Voznyckio dailės galerijа
Lietuvos Respublikos ambasada Ukrainoje, Lietuvos Respublikos ambasada Lenkijos Respublikoje, Ukrainos ambasada Lietuvos Respublikoje, Jono Karolio Chodkevičiaus labdaros ir paramos fondas, Lietuvos šaulių sąjunga, Lietuvos šaulių sąjunga Ukrainoje, Lietuvos kariuomenė, Lietuvos Respublikos muitinė, Lietuvos policija, Ukrainos patrulinė policija
Generalinis rėmėjas / Генеральний спонсор / General Sponsor
Robertas Gabulas, „ADREM Group“, „Chef the Viking“, „Kunstrans“, „PRINTin“
Valdas Dovydėnas, Mirijana Kozak, Narimantas Savickas, Stanislav Vidtmann
4 Didžioji st, Vilnius, Lithuania
+370 5 261 1685