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Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery

Kaunas, Lithuania
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Zilinkso ikonele

The construction of the gallery named after the famous Lithuanian collector was started when it became clear that the collection of 1,600 works of art M.Žilinskas had donated to the city could not fit in the newly built Picture Gallery. The oasis of culture and art standing in the very centre of the city, on Independence Square, is interesting not only for its size - it is the largest branch of the National M.K. Čiurlionis Art Museum but also for its unique architecture. And it is special as a vivid example of Lithuanian postmodernism and as a sign of a new era in architecture. Being exhausted of standardisation, gave a way to the uniqueness of details and forms, looking back to the old elements of ancient architecture.

Heavy rectangular volumes that frame the perimeter of Independence Square, supported on massive pillars - clearly indicate both the aspiration of monumentality and claims to eternal values ​​in architecture. Although the architectural solution "composed" of simple forms in the press of the late Soviet era is still derived from Le Corbusier's concept of historicity, it must be said that the composition itself here is closer to classical architecture: the closed, solid corners of the building are a guarantee of the solid aesthetics of historical architecture, which was abandoned by the modernists.

However, the most important aspect of the M. Žilinskas art gallery building is the space planning. The architect himself has mentioned that the most important thing for him is to shape the space, not the building. The main highlight of the building - its portico - seems to be hidden behind the rectangular volumes, so it gradually reveals itself when walking up the stairs from the side towards the entrance. Such a mystified decision is based on the almost metaphysical purpose of this building as an art sanctuary as well as the unwillingness to overshadow the Kaunas St. the church of the Archangel Michael.

In summary, it can be said that the Mykolas Žilinskas art gallery building is one of the most important examples of the postmodernism of appropriation in Lithuania during the Soviet era. The building is also decorated with the sculpture "Man" by P. Mazūras.

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