LRT and MO Museum bring you a series of videos presenting 20 key Lithuanian artists of the 20th century.
Birutė Žilytė (born 1930)
Graphic artist and illustrator Birutė Žilytė began working at the start of the Soviet Thaw period. At the time, artists were seeking to transcend socialist realism.
Like many graphic artists, she turned to folk art for inspiration. Žilytė would depict female characters of Lithuanian folk tales: Sigutė the orphan girl, Eglė the queen of serpents and others.
Žilytė's graphic works and even children's book illustrations contain many violent scenes: cut-off heads and blood splatters. Surprisingly, the ghastly stories come straight from folk tales.
However, she rendered them in a very elegant style informed by surrealism, pop art or even op art.
Žilytė's main masterwork is a mural co-authored with her husband Algirdas Steponavičius for a children's sanatorium in Valkininkai. The original is in a frail condition, but its digital reproduction can be seen at the cafeteria of MO Museum.
Žilytė's works are distinctive in her ability to give modern form to Lithuanian folklore.