Navigation (in separate window)

Homepage Art History on Stamps

Search Google

Mikolajus Konstantinas Čiurlionis
1875 - 1911

Back to Symbolism

M.K. Ciurlionis, SelfPortrait, Drawing

  • M.K. Ciurlionis, Self Portrait, drawing
  • Ciurlionis's very distinctive signature, which appears on many philatelic items from Lithuania. 
Mikolajus Konstantinas Čiurlionis was born on 22nd September 1875 in Varena, a small town in southern Lithuania, close to the Polish border,  where his father was an organist.  He was educated in music, painting and literature in Warsaw (Poland), and in 1900-1901 he composed his first symphonic poem "In The Forest", and later "The Sea" (1903-1907.  

The below souvenir sheet and two stamps were among the first of his works to be issued on stamps, all showing highly symbolic paintings, based on his musical compositions, and reflecting his strong inner wish of freedom for Lithuania, who was then part of the Russian Empire. He never lived to see Lithuania as a free country. 

Lithuania 1996. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. The Sacrifice. 1909. Lithuania 1996. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. Souvenir sheet. Lithuania 1996. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. The Cemetery)  1909.

From 1907 Čiurlionis lived in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he devoted his life exclusively to painting. In 1909 he married the Lithuanian writer Sofija Kymantaitė, and had a daughter by her, Danutė, in 1910. During the years 1910-11 he exhibited continuously his works in Vilnius, Riga, Minsk, Moscow, and Kiev. 

Lithuania 2000. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. First Day Cover with the painting "The Path to Eternity". Lithuania 2000. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. Sheetlet containing the stamp "The Path to Eternity".

Quotation from the inlaid card in the First Day Cover:  "The most known Lithuanian figure of art: painter, composer - composer of professional music, author of the first Lithuanian symphonic poems, cultural worker.
 
His work reflects various trends in art, oversteps the limits of national culture, and is considered the greatest contribution of the Lithuanians to the global culture.  It is impossible to categorize Ciurlionis within "normal" art styles.  

He was, and remained, truly his own, well founded in the East European World of Imagery, boundless fantasy, and laconic thoughts, all based on the Lithuanian people's constant wish for freedom and independence from Soviet sovereignty.  

  • Lithuania 1993.  M.K. Ciurlionis: "Unity Day in Lithuania" (Pasaulio Lietuviu Vienybes Diena). (1907). 

Lithuania 1993. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. Unity Day in Lithuania 1907.

On 24th September 2005 Lithuania issued this nice block in commemoration of the artist's 130th birth anniversary. The paintings are very interesting art works, reflecting the artist's devotion to both music and visual arts.

 Lithuania 2005. Symbolism. M.K. Ciurlionis. Souvenir sheet.

Ciurlionis died on 5th October 1911, only 36 years old, from a pneumonia, leaving his wife and infant daughter behind. His total output through his much too short career was enormous; during his short lifetime he made about 200 musical compositions and 300 different paintings, very original and fragile, many of them based on his musical compositions.  Most of his works are maintained at the museum bearing his name, in Kaunas, Lithuania, and he is today considered one of Lithuania's most important artists ever.    

Sources and links:

Other Symbolist artists on this site:

Back to Symbolism


Navigation (in separate window)

Homepage Art History on Stamps

Search Google

Revised 03-jan-2007. Ann Mette Heindorff
Copyright © 1999-2007. All Rights Reserved

Homepage Heindorffhus