Exhibition “Vytis: From the Lithuanian Denar to the Euro”
As the adoption of the euro in Lithuania approached, an exhibition was opened at the historical edifice of the Bank of Lithuania in Kaunas. It was arranged by the Money Museum and was dedicated to highlighting the development of one of the most ancient coats of arms in Europe, Vytis. The Vytis coat of arms is a mounted knight with a sword and a shield on an arms shield. On the oldest Lithuanian coins the knight appeared at the end of the 14th c. Initially, the figure of the knight was not yet settled on. On some coins the knight is depicted as riding to the left, in others — to the right; in some he holds a spear while others show a sword. The image of the knight settled fully under the rule of Sigismund the Old; the groats minted in 1535 began featuring a double cross on the knight’s shield. The 1569 Union of Lublin validated the composite coat of arms of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth with the Polish Eagle. The 1580 Ordinance not only equalized the Lithuanian and Polish coins in value, but also established the mandatory use of the coats of arms of either state. After the third partition of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth in 1795, most of our land became part of the Russian Empire. When Lithuania declared independence on 16 February 1918, the historical Knight of the GDL (Vytis) became the coat of arms of the Republic of Lithuania. It is depicted on the first provisional banknotes of the 10 September 1922 issue. The designs for the 16 November 1922 permanent banknotes were created by the artist A. Varnas, while those for other issues — by A. Galdikas, V. Jomantas and A. Žmuidzinavičius, the plaster models for the coins of the 1925, 1936 and 1938 issues — by the sculptor J. Zikaras. The Soviet Union occupation brought the development of Lithuanian money to a halt.
The declaration of the Act of Independence of Lithuania on 11 March 1990 returned the historical coat of arms of Lithuania — Vytis. The Knight created as early as before the war by J. Zikaras, which was used in coins, became the basis for its composition. The new version of the coat of arms, created by the artist A. Každailis and validated on 4 September 1991, has been used to date. In the creation of the first designs for coins and minting the first coins, the image of the Knight created by J. Zikaras was used. In 1997, the Lithuanian Mint minted the circulation 10, 20, 50 cent coins, in 1998 — the 1, 2, 5 litas coins of a new sample. Their plaster models were created by the sculptor A. Žukauskas, who used the version of the Knight which had been adapted specifically to coins by A. Každailis. Artists creating collector coins issued by the Bank of Lithuania are authorized to create a greater variety of versions of the Knight. In 2004 Lithuania became a Member State of the European Union and started preparations for the adoption of the euro. The decision was made to depict the figure of the coat of arms of Lithuania — the Knight — on the national side of the Lithuanian euro coins. Its plaster models were created by A. Žukauskas.
13 May–September 2014
Kaunas branch of the Bank of Lithuania (Maironio g. 25, Kaunas)
2 October 2014
Vilnius Central Post Office (Gedimino pr. 7, Vilnius)
10 March–10 April 2015
Museum of the History of Lithuania Minor (Didžioji Vandens g. 2, Klaipėda).
Exhibition “Money in Caricature II. Money Changes, Humour Stays”
With the adoption of the euro in Lithuania drawing near, the Money Museum organised an exhibition — a caricature competition “Money Changes, Humour Stays”, as a farewell to the national currency, the litas. Anybody — both professional artists and non-professional authors — could participate in the caricature competition. Each contestant was allowed to present up to 6 works drawn on paper or created using digital illustration programmes. The major evaluation criteria included the artistry of works, individual style, aestheticism, and original idea and the expressive comic, satirical or ironic content of works. The jury was presented 134 works by 27 authors. The competition laureates were announced during the opening. Most of the artists represented Lithuania’s largest cities, Vilnius and Kaunas; artists from Klaipėda, Varėna, Skuodas d., etc. presented a few works each. The jury, set up from representatives of the competition’s and exhibition’s organisers — the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania and the Lithuanian Cartoonists Association Humor Sapiens — selected three authors of the best works, to whom the prizes established by the Bank of Lithuania went. First place was taken by Gintaras Jocius, second — Ilja Bereznickas, third — Šarūnas Jakštas. Encouragement prizes were awarded to Jonas Varnas, Justina Puidokaitė and Gintautas Stankevičius.
2–22 October 2014
Dailininkų sąjungos galerija (Vokiečių g. 2, Vilnius).
The exhibition “Money in Caricature II” is already the second exhibition on money organised by the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania jointly with the cartoonists’ community. The first one took place in 2000 with the participation of 22 authors, who presented more than 100 caricatures and works of satirical plasticism.
Exhibition “Money in Photographs II”
25 June 2013 marks 20 years since the litas was introduced in Lithuania after restoring its independence. To mark this occasion, the Bank of Lithuania’s Money Museum with the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers and Lithuania’s Press Photographers Club organised an exhibition-competition “Money in Photographs II.” It featured 50 photographs, selected from the 400 photographs presented for this competition, which introduce the picturesque, intriguing world of money. The peculiar approach to money demonstrated at the exhibition by the artists of different styles and generations is perfect proof that money can be an artistic object. The geography of the creations is very broad — the photographs were taken not only in our country, but even the farthest corners of the world. The jury, set up from representatives of the Bank of Lithuania and the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers, selected for 1st place the photograph “Still life with LTL 200” (2013) by Stanislovas Bagdonavičius, 2nd place — “First donations for Sąjūdis” (1988) by Virgililijus Usinavičius. 3rd place went to even three photographers: “Atodangos” (2013) by Jolanta Klietkutė, “Banknote counterfeiting is prohibited by law” (2010) by Modestas Patašius and “The other life of money” (2013) by Monika Uldukytė. The Bank of Lithuania’s encouragement prize was presented to V. Usinavičius for his cycle of 6 photographs “End of talonas” (1992).
Prospekto Gallery (Gedimino pr. 43, Vilnius)
25 June–5 July 2013
The first exhibition “Money in Photographs” was held by the Money Museum of the Bank of Lithuania jointly with the Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers in 2002, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Bank of Lithuania. 45 authors from various regions of Lithuania participated in the exhibition. A catalogue of the exhibition with selected 164 works was published.
Exhibition “The Road of the Litas 1922–2012”
2 October 2012 was a special date for Lithuania’s monetary system — 90 years since the national currency, the litas, was first issued on 2 October 1922 and the first central bank in Independent Lithuania commenced operations. 20 years ago — on 1 October 1992 — a currency system of Lithuania, which had regained its independence, was created; the provisional talonas became the national currency unit and rubles were withdrawn from circulation.
To commemorate the dates from the history of the litas, the Money Museum prepared an exhibition, which presents two stages in the development of Lithuania’s currency: 1918–1940 and 1990–2012.
The 10 September 1922 provisional banknotes and banknotes of the 16 November issue, the 1925 silver 1, 2, 5 litas coins, minted at England’s Royal Mint in London, the coins of the 1936 and 1938 issues, minted at the Spindulys Mint in Kaunas, hark back to the inter-war period. The 1924 500 litas (specimen), 1927 10 litas and 1928 50 litas banknotes, a savings book and cheques of the Bank of Lithuania, books issued by V. Jurgutis, the first Governor of the Bank of Lithuania (1885–1961), and famous economist V.A. Moravski (1868–1941) are on display. The inter-war period is characterised by the pursuit of tight monetary policy, which helped maintain a stable exchange rate of the litas even in times of economic crises.
The second half of the exhibition focuses mainly on the history of the restoration of the litas. Discussions on the idea of revival of the national currency began as early as in 1988, with the start of the Sąjūdis national rebirth movement. The 1990 litas banknote designs, which were handed over to the Mint François Charles Oberthur of France, are exhibited. The general talonas notes used in currency circulation in 1991, the provisional currency talonas of the 1992–1993 issues remind of the transitional period. The first banknotes printed in 1991 at the private corporation United States Banknote Corporation (USA), the first litas cent coins minted at the Lithuanian Mint are exhibited.
The exhibition is ended with awards from numismatics exhibitions, which took place in the city of Vicenza in Italy and in St Petersburg, at international coin competitions for collector coins issued by the Bank of Lithuania.
The exhibition is housed in the lobby of the Bank of Lithuania (Gedimino pr. 6).
Exhibition “The Return of Lost Valuables”
The exhibition “The Return of Lost Valuables” was opened at the Money Museum’s Exhibition and Education hall on 21 December 2010 and has been open to date. It presents 240 articles of silver from Lithuania, Russia and other countries, manufactured from the late 18th to the second half of the 20th century. They include cutlery, candlesticks, tableware, and jewellery. Interesting is the history of how they turned up at the Museum. Following the re-establishment of Lithuania’s independence, in 1990–1992 the Bank of Lithuania, seeking to use depreciating rubles and protect cultural values, bought from antique shops articles of precious metals and their scrap, bought up from residents. 20.94 kg of gold and 197.97 kg of silver were bought for 12.61 million rubles. On 27 March 2000, a commission, jointly with museum employees, picked out the items and coins of historical and cultural value and added them to the Museum collections. There is also a gold watch on display at the Exhibition. It was given to Lithuania as a gift by a resident of the Russian city of Kaluga, Yevgeny Nikolayev, in support of the Lithuanian nation and in protest against the policy conducted by his country.
Exhibition “Money in Painting”
Over 30 works were presented for the exhibition organised by the Bank of Lithuania, with money as the main object of creation and a means of unexpected artistic explorations. On the day of the opening of the exhibition, the visitors walked over a “talking” carpet counting its own and other peoples’ savings. The author of this specifically created sonic composition on the theme of money is the composer A. Jasenka. The canvas “Money” (2005) by K. Petrulis became a highlight of the exhibition; in it, the artist captured his feelings for the euro coming to replace the litas. Among the works presented were compositions from Lithuanian centas coins by J. Bogdanavičiūtė, created using mixed techniques, assemblages by V. Antanavičius and G. Jonaitis. The two works by K. Matiukienė were different: “The Map” (2005) was created using an original felting technique, while “Risk Management” (2005) — collages, plywood and felt. Alongside professional artists, the student R. Ruzaitė presented her first work, which was a tapestry called “Unidentified Money” (2005). The most active was B. Gražys, who put on display 4 paintings: “Parquet” (2003), “Wallpapers and Vest”, “A Self-portrait beyond the Wall” (2004), “Scarf” (2005). “Monarch’s Denarius à la Titian” (2005), by the laureate of the national award, V. Antanavičius, took visitors back to the Middle Ages in their thoughts. The exhibition revealed that the theme of money is an inexhaustible mine for artists to express their artistic abilities.
8–31 December 2005
ARTima galerija (Totorių g. 3, Vilnius)
Exhibition “Banks in Lithuania. Late 19th–first half of the 20th century. Projects, photographs, postcards”
In 2003 the museum of the Bank of Lithuania put on an exhibition dedicated to the history of the establishment of banks and credit institutions in Lithuania in iconography — projects, photographs and postcards. The exhibition displayed images of banks in Vilnius, Kaunas, Šiauliai, Panevėžys and other Lithuanian cities. The oldest photographs and postcards issued on their basis transfer us to the second half of the 19th c. Many bank projects were put on display for the first time. At the end of the 19th c., banks developed most intensively in Vilnius and Klaipėda. New buildings of banks were put up in the styles of historicism and modernism. The buildings of the Vilnius Land Bank, which were built in 1889–1891, are home to the Bank of Lithuania. After 1918, the architecture of Kaunas, as the political, economic and financial centre of the State of Lithuania, stands out. Circa the 1920s, the academic neoclassicism trend dominated the architecture. It was reflected in the buildings of the Bank of Lithuania (1928) and the Polish Small Credit Society (1933). Rationalism and functionalism became evident in the architecture in the 1930s: the buildings of the Land Bank were built in Kaunas in 1935 and of the Savings Banks in 1940. The buildings of the branch of the Polish Post’s Savings Banks in Vilnius, which was occupied by Poland, were erected in 1937 and of the branch of the Polish Area Economy Bank in 1938; they were designed in the styles of functionalism and constructivism.
A publication under the same name, prepared by the Head of the Museum, V. Laurinavičius, was presented together with this exhibition. The exhibition was open from 23 December 2003 to 30 September 2004 in the hall of the Bank of Lithuania (Gedimino pr. 6).