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THE SCULPTOR ROBERTAS ANTINIS, SR, AND LATVIA: LINKS AND ANALOGIES (Telnieks Roberts Antinis, vecakais, un Latvija: Saiknes un analogijas)

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In various areas of cultural activity between Latvian and Lithuanian nations, and especially in the area of sculpture, an important role was played by the Latvian-born Lithuanian sculptor Robertas Antinis, Sr, and his son, Robertas Antinis, Jr. Robertas Antinis, Sr. was born on December 3, 1898, in the homestead of Kaldabruna, village of Bebrene in Ilukste District. Unlike the Latvian sculptors Karlis Zale, Emils Melderis and Marta Skulme, for whom the most important influences were Cubism and other aspects of the Constructive movement in 20th century art, Antinis' unique creativity was formed under the influence of different impulses. He got his first professional education at the Kaunas School of Art (1921-1927), where a number of lectors encouraged students to study national artistic traditions. Between 1928 and 1933 the Lithuanian state paid Antinis a scholarship, which allowed him to study at the National University of Decorative Art in Paris, as well as at the private Academie Julian. While in Paris, Antinis produced artworks which were clearly based on the primal mythology of Lithuanian culture, and in a very unusual way they also reflected the late echoes of Art Nouveau. Of great importance to Antinis were the plastic and tectonic means of construction of French sculptors Aristide Maillol and Antoine Bourdelle.. During his summer holidays, Antinis created his first monumental sculptures dedicated to his country's independence - Sirvintos (1927) and Rokiskis (1929-1931). The post-war years were difficult for Antinis, Sr., as for many of the Baltic region's most prominent sculptors. Antinis entered competitions for the design of the Salaspils Memorial and the Kaunas IX Fortress ensemble in the 1960s, and his proposals revealed a powerful sense of tragedy, of a life subject to destruction. In the fall of 1977, Antinis, Sr. and Antinis, Jr. had an exhibition of their works at the Vault Hall of the Museum of Foreign Art in Riga. After 1972, both father and son participated in several sculpture quadrennials in Riga. Robertas Antinis, Sr. died on November 19, 1981, and he is buried at the Petrosiunu Cemetery in Kaunas.
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