Statues - Hither & Thither

Lithuania
Vilnius
Vilniaus apskritis

Katedros aikštė 2
(Vilniaus arkikatedra - Vilnius Cathedral)

Skulptūros katedros išorėje

Statues on the Exterior of the Cathedral

Various sculptors
1780-1800

Vilnius /  Skulptūros katedros išorėje

Description

The Vilnius Cathedral was reconstructed between 1779 and 1783 after the designs by Laurynas Gucevišius (see his statue. The front façade has statues in niches, reliefs, a tympan with relief and statues on the top, the both sides have colonnades with statues.

  1. FRONT FAÇADE

    The front façade has the main portal with six Doric columns and a tympan.

    1. Tympan

      (click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
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      1. Nojaus auka / Noah's sacrifice. Relief showing an allegorical image of God's covenant, God testifying about the victim's dignity and significance. In the center of the composition stands the altar with the flaming sacrifice, on both sides of the altar contained are Noah, his wife and other family members. "All the animals and all the creatures that move along the ground and all the birds – everything that moves on land – came out of the ark, one kind after another. Then Noah built an altar to the Lord and, taking some of all the clean animals and clean birds, he sacrificed burnt offerings on it." (Genesis 8, 19-20). And immediately after the sacrifice God made a covenant with Noah: "Noah's Ark becomes a symbol of the Community through which people are protected from eternal death baptismal water."

        On the tympan are three large statues by Karolis Jelskis, dating from 1786-92:

      2. Šv. Stanislovas / St. Stanislaus
        (Rostkowo 1550 - Rome 1568), (Polish: Stanisław Kostka) Polish novice of the Society of Jesus. Canonized by Pope Benedict XIII in 1726. (Wikipedia).
      3. Šv. Elena / St. Helena
        (ca. 246/50 - 330), consort of Emperor Constantius, and mother of Emperor Constantine I. She is traditionally credited with finding the relics of the True Cross (Wikipedia).
      4. Šv. Kazimieras / St. Casimir
        Saint Casimir Jagiellon (1458 - 1484), crown prince of the Kingdom of Poland and of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, patron saint of Lithuania, Poland, and the young (Wikipedia).

        Presumably the sculpture of St. Casimir originally symbolized Lithuania, that of St. Stanislaus symbolized Poland, and that of St. Helena symbolized Russia's dominance. These statues were removed in 1950 and restored in 1997 by Stanislavas Kuzma.

    2. Statues in niches at ground level
      The Four Evangelists flanked by the main representatives of the old testament, Abraham and Moses. These statues are sculpted by Tomasso Righi.
      from left to right:
      (click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
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      1. Abraomas / Abraham
        Abraham, founding father of the Israelites (Wikipedia).
      2. Šv. Matas / St. Matthew, with an angel, one of the twelve Apostles of Jesus and one of the four Evangelists. His attribute is an angel. As patron saint of book-keepers, tax collectors and security forces, he is also depicted with writing utensils (Wikipedia).
      3. Šv. Morkus / St. Mark, with a lion, one the four Evangelists. His attribute is a lion (Wikipedia).
      4. Šv. Lukas / St. Luke, with a bull, one of the four Evangelists. His attribute is an ox or bull, usually having wings (Wikipedia).
      5. Šv. Jonas / St. John the Evangelist, with an eagle, conventional name for the author of the Gospel of John - considered to be the same person as John the Apostle (Wikipedia).
      6. Mozė / Moses (Hebrew: מֹשֶׁה‎), Biblical figure, religious leader, lawgiver, and prophet, to whom the authorship of the Torah is traditionally attributed (Wikipedia).

    3. Reliefs in the upper part:
      The five reliefs depict the new covenant and the apostolic themes, based on the book of Acts. These reliefs are sculpted by Tomasso Righi.
      from left to right:
      (click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
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      1. Šventosios Dvasios atsiuntimas / The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost (Acts 2: 1-4).
      2. Luošio išgydymas / Peter Heals a Lame Beggar (Acts 3: 1-10).
      3. Šv. Petro pamokslas / Peter Addresses the Crowd (Acts 2: 14-36).
      4. Mirusiojo prikėlimas Troadėje / Eutychus Raised From the Dead at Troas (Acts 20, 7-12).
      5. Ananijo ir Sapfyros mirtis / Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5, 1-11).

  2. SOUTH FAÇADE
    Lietuvos didieji kunigaikščiai - Seven Grand Dukes of Lithuania, stucco statues in rococo style, created in 1754 for the altar of the Jesuit St. Casimir Church in Vilnius. They belonged to a group that problably depicted Saint Casimir and seven of his relatives, which are difficult to identify. They were made by the Prussian sculptor Johann Kyrner (Jonas Kyrneris) When this church was closed by the tsarist government in 1832, these statues were placed at the cathedral. (see Neringa Markauskaito, 'Vilniaus Šv. Kazimiero Bažnyčiai – 400 Metų', in Lietuvių Katalikų Mokslo Akademijos Metraštis 25 (2004), p. 289-308 (PDF on-line).
    From left to right:

    (click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
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  3. NORTH FAÇADE
    Jėzuitų šventieji - Five Jesuit saints, stucco statues in rococo style, created in 1754-68 for the altar of the Jesuit St. Casimir Church in Vilnius. In 1832 these statues were placed at the cathedral.
    Identification was not possible, but it is clear among them are St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, and St. Stanislas Kostka. From left to right:

    (click on the photo for an enlargement in a separate window.)
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Sculptors

Sources & Information

Tags

  • Evangelists (Four)
  • Façade with statues (church)
  • Francis Xavier, St.
  • Gucevišius, Laurynas
  • Helena, St.
  • Ignatius of Loyola, St.
  • Jelskis, Karolis
  • John the Evangelist, St.
  • Kierneris, Joanas
  • Kuzma, Stanislovas
  • Luke, St.
  • Mark, St.
  • Matthew, St.
  • Moses
  • Noah
  • Peter, St.
  • Righi, Tommaso
  • Sapphira
  • Stanislaus Kostka, St.
  • Location N 54°41'9" E 25°17'15"

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    Item Code: lt021; Photograph: 12 July 2013
    Of each statue we made photos from various angles and also detail photos of the various texts.
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    © Website and photos: René & Peter van der Krogt