Kanutas Ruseckas

Kanutas Ruseckas (1800–1860) – painter. Born on 22 February 1800 in Stebėkiai (Radviliškis volost, currently – Panevėžys region), died on 2 September 1860 in Vilnius, buried at Bernardinų cemetery in Vilnius. Father of Boleslovas Mykolas Ruseckas. In 1816–1821 he studied at Vilnius University (Physics and Mathematics, and since 1818 the Faculty of Literature and Free Arts). He was member of the Enlightened Society and is believed to have been a member of Philomaths Society (1820–1821). In 1821 he studied at the Paris Art Academy. In 1822 he moved to Rome, studied at French Art Academy, in the workshop of B. Thorvaldsen. In 1831, K. Ruseckas returned to Vilnius. In 1834–1860, he worked as a teacher of painting at the Vilnius institute for the nobility. His creative legacy is numerous and versatile. He has left behind many landscapes which are divided into two the Italian and Vilnius periods. During the Italian period he painted architectural monuments (“Coliseum from inside”, “The ruins of the Coliseum overgrown with bushes”, both from 1826), images from cities, primarily Rome (“Rome. Back alley”, 1826), nature spots (“Light blue landscape of the Apennines”, “Italian landscape with a river”, both from 1826, “Vesuvius”, 1827). His paintings are characterised by a firm and energetic manner of painting, a vivid colour range, temperament and stylistical similarity to the art of Romantic period. During the Vilnius period, he mainly painted images of Vilnius (“St. Peter and Paul’s church”, “Vilnius panorama from Rasos”, both from 1850), as well as nature (“Autumnally landscape with a fence”, 1855). Landscapes have slightly more modest colours, more subdued and lyric, and the motiffs are depicted with iconographic precision. He painted many portraits in different styles. Every model of him had a chosen composition, light and manner of painting – some portraits are more like sketches (“A laughing Italian”, “Self-portrait”, both from 1823), while others have classical completeness and representativeness in them (“A portrait of a wife” ~1828, “Ieva Krajevskytė-Ivickienė”, 1850). Vivid paintings of domestic scenes by K. Ruseckas initially started in Rome (“An Italian peasant selling dairy products”, 1831); in Vilnius a series of domestic scenes was received with the highest acclaim depicting Lithuanian peasants (“the Reaper“, 1844, “A Lithuanian maiden with Easter palms” 1847). K. Ruseckas was one of the very few, if not the only, painter in the animalistic genre in the Lithuanian art of the day (“Little bears in a cave”, 1843, ‘Hunting of a European bison”, 1851). He also painted several religious pieces (“the Lithuanian and Polish saints”, 1854). In addition, he restored easel and mural paintings (frescos of St. Teresa Church, painting of the Holy Mary, Mother of God, in Aušros Vartai, 1833, M. Palloni frescos in Vilnius Cathedral’s St. Casimir’s chapel, 1837). Pupils of K. Rusecko: B. M. Ruseckas, Alfredas and Matas the Römeriai, T. Goreckis, A. Žametas, and J. Zenkevičius.

Reference: Integral information system of Lithuanian museums.