Caretaker in the chapel
Author: Algirdas Jasilionis
Pensive Christ in Lithuanian is called “Rūpintojėlis”. The term is derived from the word “rūpintis”, which means to take care of something (or someone), to worry about something (or someone). In the late 19th – early 20th c., when the national Lithuanian liberation movement was at its peak, the relevance of folk art, as the essential source of national identity and existence, was particularly emphasized. In this context of an active search for the Lithuanian spirit of that time, the national Pensive Christ was acknowledged as the result of folk creativity. In the 20th c., Pensive Christ became a cultural and political symbol of Lithuania and the source of this phenomenon was the interest in Lithuanian folk art. The image of Pensive Christ as the national symbol developed in the late 19th c. – early 20th c. as a result of the national liberation movement because people were searching for their national peculiarities, identity, and roots. After the restoration of Independence in 1918, in the inter-war period politicians, philosophers, writers, artists, and other intellectuals continued to create the image and symbolism of Pensive Christ. The symbolism was associated with the people‘s sufferings during the long years of oppression, national rural culture and Lithuanian values.
The wood engraver from Kaunas Algirdas Jasilionis (b. 1955) is known as a master of miniatures, most convincingly revealing himself in wood carving of small, scrupulously performed sculptures, bas-reliefs, and other works. The creator is an active participant at local and international exhibitions, and plein airs. The scaled-down copies of buildings carved by A. Jasilionis were included in the installation “The former buildings of NKVD-NKGB-MVD-MGB” by a Londoner artist Indrė Šerpytytė-Roberts, exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He also made works for Indrė's cycle of photographs “1944–1991” which was nominated for the Discovery of the Year award at the Photography Festival “Recontres d‘Arles”.