In the exhibition of the art of the ancient world, you will be familiarised with the invaluable part of the museum treasury – the antiquities of Mesopotamia, Babylon, Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Rome civilizations.
The major part of the exhibits consists of the cultural monuments of the Ancient Egypt dated from the 13th century to the 1st century BC. They were collected by collector Aleksandras Račkus, egyptologist Marija Rudzinskaitė-Arcimavičienė, collector and archaeologist Mykolas Tiškevičius. This collection has been enriched by the gifts from the State Hermitage (Saint-Petersburg), State Eastern Art Museums (Moscow) and collector Viktoras Oranskis. The museum stores the biggest and the most various collection of the antique art in Lithuania. Nearly half of its exhibits were passed to the museum by the famous collector Aleksandras Račkus. The collection of pottery was significantly enriched by Professor of Vilnius University, the Art Historian Marian Morelowski. Several vessels entered the museum’s collection from the manor of Plungė Dukes Ogiński.
The exhibits are selected from the Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery – one of the subdivisions of the Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis National Museum of Art. This Kaunas gallery meant for the collections of foreign art was opened in 1989 and named after Žilinskas to honour the famous Lithuanian collector, patron, the former Chancellor of the Ministers’ Cabinet and an exceptionally clever businessman. In 1940, when the Soviets occupied Lithuania, he was forced to emigrate to the West. Mykolas Žilinskas donated to his home town Kaunas 1,685 works of the 16th-20th centuries’ European art from his collection accumulated in West Berlin.
The gallery offers the display of the most valuable paintings from Žilinskas’ collection as well as art treasures of the Far East, Ancient Egypt, the ancient world and Europe accumulated in the museum since 1921. They are mostly the acquisitions from the collections of the Lithuanian noblemen, from the exhibitions from abroad or works of art accumulated by ardent travellers and collectors.