Established in 1921, the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art has turned into one of the oldest and largest art museums in Lithuania. It is the best place in Lithuania to become acquainted with the development of Lithuanian and international art history and culture, from ancient times to the present day.
The Museum is primarily dedicated to exhibiting and publicizing the works of the painter and musician M.K. Čiurlionis (1875–1911). By the versatility of his creative explorations M.K.Ciurlionis can be compared to the Renaissance masters, and he has left a deep mark on all the creative work of Europe in just ten years of his creative path. He wrote about four hundred pieces of music, painted more than three hundred paintings, wrote literature and poetry and experimented in art photography. The idea to establish an art museum was inspired by the first exhibitions of Lithuanian art (from 1907) and the activities of the Lithuanian art fellowship in early 20th century. In 1921, the Constitutive Assembly (Seimas) passed the M. K. Čiurlionis gallery act. Following a design by architect V. Dubeneckis, the construction of the temporary M. K. Čiurlionis gallery was begun near the Art School. The anniversary exhibition of M. K. Čiurlionis works was held here in 1925. In 1930, the decision was made to build a new museum (architects V. Dubeneckis, K. Reisonas, K. Kriščiukaitis), to commemorate the 500 year anniversary of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas the Great. The construction works were finished in 1936 and then the temporary M. K. Čiurlionis gallery was reorganized into the Vytautas the Great Museum of Culture. The Museum held the collection from the Čiurlionis Gallery, the Kaunas City Museum and the State Museum. In 1944, the museum took the name of the M. K. Čiurlionis State Museum of Art, becoming the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art in 1997.