Grand Tour: Testimonies of the Travel in the Barons von der Ropps Art Collection

M. Žilinskas Art Gallery
Bartolomeo Scedoni. "The penitent Mary Magdalene"

From the 15th of May

Regarding the fact that the Ropp collection in the 19th century was well-known in the Baltic German provinces and had been thoroughly documented it was possible to highlight in the exhibition the survived treasures of Theodor von der Ropp’s original collection, accumulated in various European, in the main, Italian centres. The newly discoveredbiographical material in the Latvian archives and the family chronicles enabled to bring to light the personality of the initiator of the collection, to provide a more extensive picture of a well-educated representative of the Age of Enlightenment and his consistent activity.Perhaps the most engaging fact is thatTheodor von der Ropp was known as a patron of the famous Danish sculptor Bertel Thorvaldsen (1770–1844). Straight from the sculptor’s workshop, the baron acquired a marble bas-relief “Achilles and Briseis” and a sculpture “Venus with an Apple” (Venus victrix) (both had survived), as well as nine copies of antique marble busts. Recently, researchers acknowledge that the young baronet’s commission was a key turningpoint in the career of a Danish sculptor, all the more so, it was made at the time when he had to decide whether to return home after the scholarship of the Royal Danish Academy was over or to stay in Rome and work self-dependently.

Bertel Thorwaldsen “Achiles and Briseis”, 1803

The exhibition presents in a wider context the artistic values of Pakruojis Manor – exhibits of sculpture, painting and the applied arts (porcelain and glass) –  collected by the representatives of several generations. Moreover, they had survived and had been preserved at the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art and Šiauliai “Aušra” Museum.

Josef Abel “Sculptor Socrates (near work)”, 1806

The collection of artworks accumulated by Barons von der Ropp was transferred to the State Culture Museum in the autumn of 1940. Artist Vladas Sipaitis and a representative of Šiauliai Public Library writer Borisas Melngailis, authorized by the Ministry of Education, in the presence of the family members, made a list of all art treasures accumulated in Pakruojis Manor and handed them over to the Agency for Cultural Heritage Protection. As the registrants were from Šiauliai, the works of art were transported both to Kaunas and to Šiauliai “Aušra” Museum. Most of the treasures can be identified according to the register lists, although both museums, over the course of time, had accumulated exhibits related to Pakruojis Manor, as well. The objects of art from Pakruojis encompass various artistic periods, and they have been collected by the representatives of different generations up to the fateful 1940.

The Fan, France XVIII c.

Curator of the exhibition: Osvaldas Daugelis
Partner: Šiauliai “Aušra” Museum
The project is partly supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture