Ciurlionis, Mikalojus Konstantinas

Čiurlionis, Mikalojus Konstantinas


Born Sept. 10, (22), 1875, in Varėna, now in the Lithuanian SSR; died Mar. 28 (Apr. 10), 1911, in Pustelnik Miński, now in Poland. Lithuanian painter and composer.

Čiurlionis studied painting at the drawing school of J. Kauzik from 1902 to 1905 and at the Warsaw School of Fine Arts with K. Stabrauski in 1905. He studied music at the Warsaw Institute of Music and the Leipzig Conservatory. He joined the association World of Art in 1911. A proponent of symbolism, Čiurlionis based his aesthetics on the “national romance” of Lithuanian folklore, and his later works reflect his conception of music and the visual arts as being analogous.

Čiurlionis’ paintings, in which the images are abstracted and symbolic, show a distinctive use of color and a subtle silvery palette. They transport the viewer into the world of fairy tales (the triptych Fairy Tale and the series A Tale of Kings, both 1907), fantastic visions and mysticism (the series The Creation of the World, 1904–06, and the series Signs of the Zodiac, 1907), and folk notions and superstitions (the three series Spring, 1907, Winter, 1907, and Žemaite Crosses, 1909). Čiurlionis’ paintings show an affinity with his musical compositions, such as Sun Sonata (1907), Spring Sonata (1907), Sea Sonata (1908), and Star Sonata (1908). All the paintings mentioned are in the Čiurlionis Gallery in Kaunas.

Čiurlionis wrote the first Lithuanian symphonic poems, In The Forest (1900) and The Sea (1907), and chamber works, piano compositions, and adaptations of folk song.


Apie muzika ir daile, laiškai, užrašaiir straipsniai. Vilnius, 1960.


Čiurlionite, J. K. Vospominaniia o M. K. Chiurlenise. Vilnius, 1975. (Translated from Lithuanian.)
Landsbergis, V. V. Tvorchestvo Chiurlenisa, 2nd ed. Leningrad, 1975.
Venclova, A. M. K. Čiurlionis. Vilnius, 1961.