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Culture and art in Lithuania

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Placed on: 2006-11-09 18:45   Updated on: 2010-10-20 20:42   Comments: 0   Views from 2009-08-25: 0

Culture and art in Lithuania
2006-11-09 18:35

Culture, science, research and teaching shall be unrestricted. The State shall support culture and science, and shall be concerned with the protection of Lithuanian history, art, and other cultural monuments and valuables. The law shall protect and defend the spiritual and material interests of authors which are related to scientific, technical, cultural, and artistic work.

Unusual integration of many colourful traditions, values and forces - this is what describes Lithuanian culture. This complex phenomenon has successfully joined elements of pagan mythology with Christianity. After professional Lithuanian art appeared in the Renaissance period and later there was a huge influence of Western Europe felt. Productive contacts between Lithuania and the rest of Europe during the independence period of the 20th century was enormous contribution to the development of modern Lithuanian culture.

Roots of Lithuanian cultural variety are discovered in the multiethnic heritage of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania (14th-18th c.). The limits of Lithuanian cultural identity always exceeded the limits of Lithuanian ethnical territory. Today, due to historical reasons, Lithuanian culture exists in Poland, Belarus, Russia, Ukraine, the United States of America, and many other countries of Western Europe.

Having outstayed a variety of outer factors that came with immigrant artists, occupations, reluctant and strategical confederacies as well as cultural and scientific exchanges, for centuries Lithuanians were persistent in preserving elements that form the identity of their traditional culture. A really unique example of Lithuanian folklore music is "sutartine" (glee) (the name originated from a word "sutarti" - to sing in unison). It symbolises ancient polyphony of two or three voices based on the oldest principles of polyphonic vocal music: heterophony, parallelism, and canonical as well as free imitation. One of the most outstanding phenomena of traditional Lithuanian culture, tradition of cross crafting, has recently been included into the UNESCO lists of "Verbal and non-material heritage of the mankind". This tradition originated far back in the pre-Christian world and is based on crafting wooden crosses and oratories. Embellished in geometrical and floral decorations (what has symbolic meanings) every cross is erected following certain intentions in cemeteries, near roads or at crossroads, as well as close to farmsteads.

The tradition of national songs and dances festival, which now is of one hundred years, is one of the biggest cultural festivals in Lithuania. The songs and dances festival is held every four years and it is known as the most universal manifestation of Lithuanian national, cultural, artistic, public, and political identity nationwide. It became a link between the ancient heritage of folklore culture and contemporary national culture as well as professional art. The tradition and symbolism of the development of songs and dances festival in Lithuania was included into the UNESCO lists of "Verbal and non-material heritage of the mankind".

The history of modern professional arts of Lithuania began from artist and composer Mikalojus Konstantinas Ciurlionis (1875-1911). His unique has hardly any parallels in Lithuanian art, though he was not separated from trend in art of that time. Works of this talented artist covered symbolism and romanticism. There is an opinion that he is also a father of professional art and music.

The newest cultural events in Lithuania are extremely influenced by traditions of rich local culture as well as European context. The Lithuanian theatre has been perfectly evaluated many times by home and foreign spectators. Directors, such as Eimuntas Nekrosius, Oskaras Korsunovas, Rimas Tuminas, Jonas Vaitkus, and Gintaras Varnas, are a part of the national cultural pride.

The country can be proud of many well-known professional symphony and chamber orchestras, choirs, opera singers, or ballet dancers. There are many cultural events held all year round - they are great yearly international festivals of classical music, theatre, film, and poetry, including a good number of appearances of famous Lithuanian and foreign performers. Lithuania is also known as a country, where jazz performers and fans of it are happy to organise several annual international festivals in Kaunas, Birstonas, and Vilnius.


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