Nikodemas Silvanavičius (1834–1919)
This year we commemorate the 180 birth anniversary of the painter and mosaic master Nikodemas Silvanavičius. The painter was born on 25th December 1834 in Cincevičiai village (Vileika District, Vilnius Governorate). In 1850–1854 he studied in Maladzyechna Fourth-grade school. In 1855, Silvanavičius was sent to the Society for the Promotion of Arts in Sankt Petersburg by Maladzyechna landlord to prepare for the examination for joining the Academy of Arts. In 1856-1863 he studied in the Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. His teachers were Fiodor Bruni, Alexey Markov, Timoleon Neff.
During the period of 1864-1866, N. Silvanavičius lived in Vilnius, had his workshop here. By clients requests he visited Lida, Moscow. In 1866 Silvanavičius repeatedly joined the Academy of Arts to study the mosaic. In 1870 he graduated and stayed to work in a mosaic workshop as an artist-mosaic master. In 1876 Silvanavičius was awarded by a title of academician for all his mosaic artwork.
Silvanavičius dedicated many of his years for mosaic, however he did not abandoned his first love – painting. Silvanavičius was a talented portraitist. He displayed these portraits and other genre art in the exhibitions in Petersburg, Moscow and abroad. Silvanavičius was also interested in photography. During the period of 1883–1885 together with Wladyslaw Reinhardt owned a photo studio.
Although Silvanavičius lived in Petersburg he did not break the relations with his homeland. He spent summers in Cincevičiai village, frequently visited Lithuania for holidays in Jieznas and Birštonas where his relatives lived. While travelling around Silvanavičius communicated with village people, drew sketches and portraits, photographed. After retiring he lived in Birštonas, and from 1911 in Prienai. Silvanavičius painted altar paintings for Nemajūnai, Jieznas, Birštonas, Stakliškės churches.
At the beginning of the First World War Nikodemas Silvanavičius moved to Russia. On the way back Silvanavičius visited his homeland Vileika where he died on 21st May 1919.