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Didactic Commentary: Vilnius 1655, Russian Invastion - Restructuring and Rebuilding the City

The topic is beneficial not just for discussing the issues of the Vilnius Baroque, but also for the analysis of Baroque art as a whole. So the tasks concern not only Vilnius but also general features of Baroque art in Europe.

The matter of the Catholic character of the European Baroque is debatable. The Catholic Church employed art to attract people who could have succumbed to the influence of other confessions, especially during the spread of the Reformation. A great deal of attention was therefore paid to the interior of churches, the liturgy and its theatricality. Majestic Baroque churches with rich interiors, ornamentation and decor, theatre-like liturgy with choral music and organs were aimed to demonstrate the grandeur and superiority over simple and unpretentious Protestant churches. Nonetheless, contemporary art historians are in favour of several trends regarding the Baroque style. One of them is, of course, the Catholic Baroque. But other trends are also distinguished: city-protestant baroque, estate baroque (not related directly with any of the confessions), etc. Architecture and art had their own inner developmental logic, which was not necessarily related to ecclesiastic demands.

While performing the task that includes citations from the article by the Lithuanian historian E. Meilus, attention is drawn to the inadequacy of historical sources concerning Vilnius. The questions and considerations of wider scope are therefore formulated in order to show the significance of historical sources for the process of cognition.



Keywords: Rebuilding, Vilnius Baroque, Baroque, Architecture of Vilnius, Foundation, Patron, Hetman.