Vincas Svirskis

Vincas Svirskis (born on 28 January 1835, in Glitėnai, died on 7 March 1916 in Rokiškis) is the most prominent Lithuanian cross maker, a sculptor and a folk artist. Vincas Svirskis was born in 1835 in the village of Glitėnai, Krekenava District. His parents were poor free peasants. Vincas Svirskis started carving while still being a shepherd. Certainly, he was able to read and write, he spoke Polish well and little Russian. He also was able to read and sing in Latin, therefore he used to help the organists of the churches of Truskava and Ančiškis. He probably attended the parochial school in Krekenava. During the period of prohibition of the press, Vincentas Svirskis maintained contacts with book smugglers, distributors of Lithuanian books. He distributed the prohibited literature himself too. The master moved from village to village, created and lived from what he earned himself using his own hands. In his old age, the folk artist did not have either a house or any other property, he walked from village to village without any work and lived at others’ grace. Vincas Svirskis died in 1916 in the village of Burveliai and was buried in the cemetery of Surviliškiai Parish. The works are marked by clear-cut plastic, complex composition, monumental and decorative character. Vincas Svirskis’ creative work is based on Lithuanian folk art traditions and also has elements of the Baroque style.

Reference: Kostkevičiūtė Irena. “Vincas Svirskis”. Vilnius: Vaga, 1966; “Old Lithuanian Sculptures, Crosses and Chapels”.