Material / technique: oil on canvas.
Dimensions: 56x70 cm.
Signature: VMack (in the bottom-right corner of the painting).
An impressive view of Vilnius opens out from the Missionaries’ Monastery on Saviour Hill. The city spreads out below as if in a bowl, surrounded by hills that stretch back to the horizon. This is a view that Vytautas Mackevičius (1911–1991) painted during the Second World War. From an angle of observation of almost 180 degrees, the artist chose one detail, the Church of Sts Johns and its bell tower, as the tallest and most prominent feature in the centre of the picture, with the façade of St Raphael’s Church, the bell tower of the cathedral, and the cathedral itself to the right. Gediminas Hill and Tower, the Church of St Anne and the Bernardine Church did not fit into the composition. Giving the widest view possible was not as important for the artist as resolving certain artistic questions, such as combining the chaos of the town’s colours and forms into a compact whole, and expressing the depth of the space without breaking the plane of the picture. The contrast between the dark blue sky and the sunlit city under snow creates a restless wintry mood.
Reference: Art album Vilnius. Topophilia (Volume II) Compiler and author Laima Laučkaitė. Vilnius, VALIUNAS ELLEX, 2015, I Vol. P. 54.
Exhibitions: “VILNIUS. Topophilia”, 5 October – 26 November, 2017, the National Gallery of Art, Vilnius; "Vilnius in Art 1939 - 1956", 2019 March 28 – 2019 September 8, Vilnius Picture Gallery, Vilnius.
Published: Art album Vilnius. Topophilia (Volume II) Compiler and author Laima Laučkaitė. Vilnius, VALIUNAS ELLEX, 2015, I Vol. P. 54; Gudynas Pranas. "Vytautas Mackevičius". Vilnius: Vaga, 1971, No. 24, P. 110. "Vilnius in Art 1939 - 1956". Exhibition catalogue. Lithuanian Art Museum, Vilnius 2019, P. 80.