Vilmantas Marcinkevičius' painting Angels and the Girl was created in 2000. The painting was inspired by a news item that shocked the painter, about the sudden death of a little girl. It seems to remind us that we can never know what fate is following just behind us.
Traditionally, angels represent safety and protection. They are among the most popular images, not only in religious art, but also in the works of folk and self-taught artists. But the angels depicted by Marcinkevičius are of a different sort. On the one hand, they are striking and massive, as if straight from the Old Testament. On the other hand, they are awkward, reminiscent of large, naive children. They are suspicious angels. Do they really always bring good and justice?
Angels and the Girl is representative of Marcinkevičius' mature work. It is characterized by the vivid color contrast of blue and yellow, as well as the painting's method of creation: impulsive expressionist brush strokes are controlled by decorative lines. These lines create figures from generalized forms, infusing them with mood.
Provocative religious imagery is fairly rare in Lithuanian art. Catholicism was persecuted and suppressed in Soviet times. Nevertheless, it remained a moral authority for a large portion of society. In the works of that period, artists hid religious themes behind allegory and treated them with great respect. With the restoration of Independence, young artists summoned the courage to provoke society with religious questions. Eglė Rakauskaitė created chocolate crucifixes, while the painter Šarūnas Sauka employed ambiguous images of Christ, temples and the faithful in prayer. Marcinkevičius also utilized his artistic privileges to pose uncomfortable questions and to allow viewers to find the answers themselves.