M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art
M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

The colour GREEN at the exhibit unites Lithuanian art, history, crafts, as well as nature and science. A diversity of variations of the colour green are put on view – from nostalgia, enjoyment and hedonism to fear and anxiety.

Why Green?

The first association that comes to mind when you say or hear "green" is usually nature. It is therefore not surprising that for most Europeans this colour is one of the most beautiful. For us, Lithuanians, it is also extremely important. We long for 'green' Lithuania when we are away, we present it to others as such, we praise it in poems and songs, we use it in sayings and riddles. As many as 146 words in Lithuanian have the root "green": "green-eyed, green-bearded, green forest, green-scarfed, etc.” And, of course, "Žalgiris". Maybe this is a reason why "green" is so abundant not only in our environment, but also in art. However, 10% of people say it is a colour of hatred, ill luck. Since ancient times, this colour has always had ambiguous and very opposite meanings. It is the colour of beauty, youth, fullness, peace, but also of poison, fatigue, anxiety, sickness and nightmares. It can be soothing, but toxic, as well.

Interpretations of the colour green in art, crafts and science

The works, gathered from the collections of seven museums, artists' studios and other institutions, reveal the most varied variations of the colour green: from nostalgia, enjoyment, hedonism to fear, anxiety, nightmares. The exhibition in four rooms presents different panoramas of "green" – "Beautiful Lithuania", "Disasters", "Visions and Dreams" and "Relaxation". The "Corridor of Science" brings together research by naturalists, scientists and contemporary artists. Visitors will find out why plants are grown from the cell, how grubs fight like lapdogs for a space on a leaf, which minerals are suitable for the production of pigments and glazes, what the meaning of ’to get overgrown with moss’ is, why we see green leaves if they are painted black, how, working with plants and microorganisms, plant surfaces are created in the laboratory.

The exhibition features different themes interpreted by our art coryphées (M. K. Čiurlionis, P. Kalpokas, A. Žmuidzinavičius, K. Šimonis, A. Samuolis) and modernist classics (A. Kuras, A. Vaitkūnas, P. R. Vaitekūnas, S. Eidrigevičius, A. Martinaitis), as well as contemporary artists (P. Juška, Š. Sauka, Ž. Augustinas, A. Ambrazevičiūtė) and many others. Visitors will acquaint here with works by 61 artists. Some of them have been created specially for this exhibition.

The colour green: interesting facts

It is clear that colour is not just chemistry or particles of light, it is the society that creates the meaning of colour, the conditions of its usage, symbols and rituals. In ancient Egypt, for example, green was the colour of rebirth, happiness, health and life. All green animals, even fearsome crocodiles, were considered sacred. But in Ancient Greece and later in Rome, however, the colour green was out of use, an insignificant colour. Scholars did not find mention of green in Greek written records, therefore a theory that the Greeks were colour blind existed for several centuries. Ophthalmologists, of course, saw no reason to believe that eyes of Greeks had a different structure. Rather, it was due to the fact that it was not so easy to get bright, beautiful green, and that it took until the Roman Empire to realise that the mix of yellow and blue would make green. Only artists of Pompeii, who painted forests, rivers and gardens in frescoes, happened to learn how to cover one colour with another and understood how to produce fresh, rich and soft green.

Green was a distinctive, sacred colour in Islam. It was the most sacred colour, which, for example, had gradually disappeared from carpet manufacture: the revered colour shall not be trampled on with feet.

Why has green become the colour of medical and pharmaceutical emblems in many countries? The answer comes from antiquity – it was suggested that looking through green glass or emeralds could give eyes a rest. It is a healing and soothing colour. Emerald powder was used to make healing ointments for eyes.

Why did girls in the Lithuanian countryside use to sew at least one green ribbon to their headdresses? This was the medieval tradition to express love, infatuation or readiness to be loved.

Visitors to the exhibition will not only rest their eyes while looking at more than 200 artistic and nature objects, but also reflect on various meanings, symbols and significance of the colour green in their personal lives while watching images in M. Survila's film "Sengirė". Starting with autumn, the exhibition will be accompanied by a large programme of events, meetings, lectures and concerts.

Curators of the exhibition: Giedrė Jankevičiūtė, Daina Kamarauskienė
Coordinator: Nijolė Adomavičienė
Architect of the exhibition: Saulius Valius
Designer of the exhibition: Vilma Bražiūnaitė
Graphic designer of the exhibition: Jonas Vaikšnoras
Designer of the catalogue: Lina Bastienė

The main information partner LRT Plius 
Sponsored by Lithuanian Council for Culture
Supported by Cinamon

Partners of the exhibition:
Lithuanian National Museum of Art, National Museum of Lithuania, Lithuanian Art Cognition Centre "Tartle", Union of Lithuanian Folk Artists, The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, MO Museum, Tedas Ivanauskas Museum of Zoology, Lithuanian Centre of Agrarian and Forestry Sciences, ’Sengirė’ Public Institution, Vilnius University Museum of Geology, Vilnius University Herbarium at the Centre of Life Sciences

Exhibits on loan from:
Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Žygimantas Augustinas, Giedra Dagilienė, Agnė Gintalaitė, Justina Gražytė, Eglė Grėbliauskaitė, Paulius Juška, Eglė Kunčiuvienė, Raimondas Paknys, Auksė Petrulienė, Mindaugas Rasimavičius, Simona Rukuižaitė, Rūta Spelskytė, Indrė Spitrytė, Mindaugas Survila.

The event is open to the public and will be filmed and photographed. By attending the event you agree to be featured in photographs and videos of the event and are informed that these photographs and videos may be made public.

The Exhibition is open: 22 06 2023 – 31 12 2023