Broad Horizons, Deep Thinking, Multifaceted Professional Activity
Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis
Keywords:Aleksandra Aleksandravičiūtė, Lithuanian applied art, Lithuanian graphic art research, Lithuanian sacral art research, methodology of art history, Department of Art History and Theory of the Vilnius Academy of Arts
The article discusses the contribution of art historian and lecturer Aleksandra Aleksandravičiūtė to Lithuanian art history and overviews her broad field of interests and multifaceted professional activity, including her research on graphic, applied and church art, ornamentation, terminology and methodology of art history. Her long-term pedagogical activity at the Vilnius Academy of Arts is also addressed.
Aleksandra Aleksandravičiūtė was born in Vilnius into the family of composer, choirmaster, and organist Zigmas Aleksandravičius (1911–65). In 1971–76, she studied art history and theory at the Art Institute of the Lithuanian SSR. After gradu- ation, in 1976 she started teaching at the Department of Art History and Theory, and in 1978–81, she did postgraduate studies at the Institute of Art Theory and History of the Academy of Fine Arts of the USSR in Moscow. In 1985, she defended her thesis The Work of Jonas Kuzminskis. From 1981, Aleksandravičiūtė continued her teaching work at the Institute of Fine Arts of the Lithuanian SSR, from 1992, as an associate professor, and from 2008, as a professor. Between 1993 and 2020, she worked at the Lith- uanian Cultural Research Institute, for some time headed its Sacral Art Department and, between 1998 and 2001, was the chair of the Society of Lithuanian Art Historians. In 2007, as part of her habilitation process, the art historian defended her thesis “The Problems and Perspectives of Altar Research: Church Ensembles of the Užnemunė Region from the Seventeenth to the First Half of the Twentieth Century”.
The art historian prepared a number of important research publications, compiled collections of articles, organised conferences, reviewed books, and was a member of editorial boards and expert commissions. This article mostly addresses her applied art research. From the early period, the article The Explorations of Lithuanian Decorative Art (1978) in the magazine Pergalė should be mentioned. In this article, she analyzed Lithuanian ceramics, textiles, glass, leather, and stained glass of the 1970s through the prism of the stylistic trends of world architecture and art. In the later period, Aleksandravičiūtė focused mainly on the research of ecclesiastic art, explored the history and theory of ornaments, and compiled a collection of articles The Ornament: Research on the Art Heritage from the Sixteenth to the First Half of the Twentieth Century (2014). In her article published in that collection, the author analyses the relationship between the ornament and the decorated object, compares the approaches of Western European and Lithuanian scholars, and singles out those that could be relevant for the research of Lithuanian art. Aleksandravičiūtė dedicates much time and attention to the criticism of applied arts and the current topics of art life. Critical publications are a significant part of the art researcher’s work. They are characterised by a certain logical structure: to observe and systematise art phenomena, to define the impact of external circumstances on the artist’s personality and artistic choices, to describe the uniqueness of artistic expression, and to explain the reasons for the power of creative work.