2019-03-14 Back to list

Secret Kaunas. At Sofija’s

At the end of 1932, three women – Sofija Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė, the widow of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, her only daughter Danutė and mother Elžbieta – settled in a house designed by architect Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis.

Text and photos by Lukas Mykolaitis for Kaunas Full of Culture magazine. Vintage photos from the family archive.

At the end of 1932, three women – Sofija Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė, the widow of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, her only daughter Danutė and mother Elžbieta – settled in the house of minimalist, strict forms designed by architect Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis.

Eventually, this home became a central modernist cultural spot that brought Kaunas intellectuals for discussion and gave rise to the Lithuanian Language Society. In her home, Sofija organised a unique phenomenon for that time – the language Saturdays – which gave birth to the language magazine called Mother Tongue. Its publishing started in 1933. Sofija worked in this house until the last days of her life.

A memorial exhibition, which hasn’t changed since it was opened in the writer’s office in 1971. This apartment is still home to the granddaughter of Sofija Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė, sculptor Dalia Palukaitienė, who together with her son Džiugas maintains the memorial exhibition. The tradition of dedication extends from generation to generation and Sofija’s devotion to Čiurlionis that was felt throughout their life has a continuity, only now it is her name that is being upheld.

This is my dedication to them. Interpretation through images noticed while spending two afternoons in the house listening to stories and browsing through artefacts and the digital archive of Palukaičiai. It is a small journey through an abundance of objects, each of which tells a larger story that touches upon language development, the cultural life of Kaunas, the political climate prevailing in Lithuania, and the history of this family.

Namas zemaiciu g. 10 Kaunas

The house at Žemaičių g. 10.

Dalia Zubovaite Palukaitiene2

Dalia Zubovaitė-Palukaitienė.

Namu knyga vesta 1933 1940 metais 2

The house book that was kept between 1933 and 1940.

Namu knyga vesta 1933 1940 metais

The house book that was kept between 1933 and 1940.

Sofijos Kymantaites Ciurlionienes lova

The bed of Sofija Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė.

Sofija snekuciuojasi su Zigmantu Skirgaila savo kambaryje 1956.

Sofija talking to Zigmantas Skirgaila in her room. 1956.

Vienas memorialinio kambario eksponatu akmuo is Mikalojaus Konstantino Ciurlionio kalno virsunes alpinisto Konstantino Kastyticio Zubovo dovanotas Daliai Zubovaitei 1970.

One of the exhibits of the memorial room is a stone from Čiurlionis peak in the Pamir mountains, brought to Kaunas by Kastytis Zubovas in 1970.

Mikalojaus Konstantino Ciurlionio kalno virsune fotografija kabanti namu svetaineje

The Čiurlionis peak in the Pamir mountains. Picture hanging in the living room.

Sofija Ciurlioniene Kymantaite raso 1958 viena paskutiniuju fotografiju

Sofija Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė writing. 1958 (one of her last pictures).

Gimtoji kalba pirmasis leidinys 1933


The first publication of Mother Tongue. 1933.

Sofijos rasomasis stalas

Sofija’s desk.

Memorialines lentos atidengimas 1974

The opening of the memorial plaque. 1974.

Vladys Zubovas ir Danute Ciurlionyte Zuboviene memorialiniame Sofijos kambaryje rankose laiko Sofijos ir Mikalojaus Konstantino Ciurlioniu 1910 m. isleista knygele Lietuvoje

Vladys Zubovas and Danutė Čiurlionytė-Zubovienė in Sofija’s memorial room, holding a book by Čiurlionis published in 1910.

Lankytoju knygos titulinis puslapis. Knyga pradeta vesti 1971 memorialinio kambario isteigimo proga.

The title page of the visitors' book. It was started in 1971 when the memorial room was opened.

Lankytoju knygos trys pirmieji irasai. Knyga tebevedama iki siu dienu.

The first inscriptions of the visitors' book. It’s still being kept today.

Close

Check the archives! Latest issue

Subscribe a newsletter