Lithuanian-Russian Cultural Connections in Judita Vaičiūnaitė’s Poem “In Front of Vrubel’s ‘Lilacs’”

Marina Romanenkova


The article deals with the issue of interaction of the media of painting and of literature based on analysis of the painting “Lilac” (1900) by Mikhail Vrubel, the poem “In Front of Vrubel’s ‘Lilacs’” (1957) by Judita Vaičiūnaitė and its two translations into Russian. Judita Vaičiūnaitė often tends to allude to works of pictorial art (as well as to pictorial art as such). These allusions serve as the source for her writings and help the writer to personalise her lyrical “I” in the texts. This artistic device is characteristic not only of her art, but of all 20th century art and culture.
According to a well-known researcher of intermediality, N. Tishounina, the inclusion of elements of the art of painting into a verbal space leads to a “translation of one artistic code into another” followed by an “emergence of a succession of semantic associations”. This is the gist of intermedial analysis.
The semantics of the codes of painting and literature are analyzed in this paper, and the analysis demonstrates the following: J. Vaičiūnaitė aims not for a literal representation of the pictorial code of Vrubel’s “Lilac” by means of literature, but rather for the adoption of the code and its assimilation within the lyrical self-expression of the character. Therefore, the image of a lilac in bloom supports the poet’s intentions, different from the original demonic (modernist) meaning of Vrubel’s painting.
The intermedial analysis of this poem is amplified by a comparative analysis of its translations into Russian. Thus the poetical nuances are exposed, the Russian-Lithuanian context is broadened, the interpretation of the poem by J. Vaičiūnaitė is specified by revealing the motif of life’s instantaneity, and finally, the prospects for the future comparative (and intermedial) analysis of J. Vaičiūnaitė’s poetry are discussed.


Mikhail Vrubel’s “Lilac”; Judita Vaičiūnaitė’s “In Front of Vrubel’s ‘Lilac’”; intermedial analysis; Russian-Lithuanian cultural context

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"Societal studies" ISSN online 2029-2244 / ISSN print 2029-2236