St Casimir
St Casimir

St Casimir

Author: Zikaras Juozas, 1881 - 1944

Created: 1928.

Material/technique: bas-relief/gypsum.

Dimensions:  39x28 cm.

Signature: J. Zikaras.

St Casimir is the patron saint of Lithuania and Lithuanian youth. Casimir (1458–1484) was the son of Casimir Jogaila (Jagiellon), King of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania. He was born in Kraków and from his early age was trained as a future politician and received an excellent education. He was a pious person and preached poverty and chastity. He died in Grodno and is buried in Vilnius Cathedral. After his death he became famous for his miracles. In 1602, he was canonised. St Casimir is depicted with a white lily and a cross symbolising both piety and chastity.

... Długosz, a great chronicler and canon of Krakow, was St Casimir’s teacher. He taught the young king different languages and proper behaviour. From childhood St Casimir suffered poor health and his sole preoccupation was earning the right to the Heavenly Kingdom. Being particularly attached to the Holy Mother, he wrote three songs in Latin glorifying Mary and spoke them every day.

When St Casimir came of age, in order not to breach his chastity, he practised self-mortification, did not eat royal meals, tied his loins with a sharp chain, did not look at women’s faces, and shunned away from friendships with young people. He valued and maintained friendships with wise and learned men and priests. While living in the city of Vilnius, he attended church every day and prayed so fervently that he did not notice what was going on around him on earth. If he found the door of the church locked, he would kneel and pray at the door. On many occasions the night-watchmen of the city found him lying in the form of the cross at the door of the church.

He supported poor people, widows and orphans as much as he could. If anyone said anything nasty in his presence, he admonished them and did not allow them to talk nonsense. (Motiejus Valančius, „Žyvatai šventųjų“, Raštai 2, p. 163–165)

Reference: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, Kat. No, P. 186.

The sculptor JUOZAS ZIKARAS (1881–1944) carried out many orders for the Church in the 1920s. He created several significant works on religious themes. He made this portrait of the Saviour in his favourite Classical relief style, which in European art was sometimes used to produce devotional images of saints: the subtly modelled head of Christ is shown in profile. It is bent and crowned with a crown of thorns. The movement, the crown of thorns and the expression on his face, radiant with quiet humility, make us realise that it is an image of the Suffering Christ after he has been scourged and mocked, and can be called Ecce Homo. The original moulds for this bas-relief are held by museums and some churches in Lithuania.

Reference: Art album "Heaven and Beyond", compiler Dalia Vasiliunienė, authors Dalia Vasiliunienė and Skaidrė Urbonienė. Vilnius, VALIUNAS ELLEX, 2016, P. 120.

Exhibitions: exhibition of the paintings and sculptures of painter J. Mackevičuys and sculptor J. Zikaras, 1928, October, the hall of the Biržos, Kaunas.

Published: "The Lithuanian art collection of Jaunius Gumbis". Museum and Collector - 6. Vilnius: National Museum of Lithuania, 2016, Kat. No, P. 188; Art album Heaven and Beyond, Compiler Dalia Vasiliunienė, authors Dalia Vasiliunienė and Skaidrė Urbonienė. Vilnius, VALIUNAS ELLEX, 2016, P. 120. Cat. P. 320 No. 28.