Irena and Vilius Šliuželis


Each work of art is a key to another realm. Sometimes it is also a key to history.  There are many keys to the past all around us. The Zubov Palace, the Zubov Park and the Chestnut Walkway.

The Chestnut Walkway served as a gateway to the Zubov manor estate where we are now standing. The gate probably also led to the park which was granted by the Zubov family to the town in 1923 on condition that it would be used as a public park.

The hands of the people of Šiauliai would be much emptier if it was not for the Zubov Palace and the deeds of the family.

And what keys could tell us stories about the Zubov family?

The hands featured in the work by Irena and Vilius Šliuželis hand over the key, entrusting it to someone else. Did Count Platon Zubov have trust in anyone? Let us unlock one of the legends.

The count is in his library with a book in his hands; he is smiling. “They keep wagging their tongues about me and never stop! And those writers are talking gibberish. No one cares about their drivel. They all envy me. They cannot wrap their heads around how the empress could choose such a loser, such a callow young man. So, there is that. Everyone is acting like casanovas, keeping count of their young, foolish lovers on a quest to build a better life for themselves and to find happiness. But try seducing an empress in her sixties and let me know how it goes for you. And do not forget that you only have one shot. One single shot. They themselves are losers. Full of envy and revenge. Everyone was walking on eggshells around me, even Suvorov. It is probably still painful for them. And my eyes bother them. “His eyes were like a magnet.” As though my eyes were something separate from me. If a man is empty inside, he will also have emptiness in his eyes just like a serf’s farm animal which had died from the plague. You can’t hide the look in your eyes with a mask. She believed I had feelings for her. This means that the feelings actually existed.”

The count finishes reading the book. “Where are the keys? The keys! My keys!”  the baron cries out with his dying breath in Alexander Pushkin’s tragedy The Miserly Knight. They say that Pushkin created the baron’s character inspired by the legends and funny stories about Platon Zubov who became stingy when he reached old age. His key is lying here under your feet. Take it and use it to unlock the treasure chests of history.

Coordinates: 55.9359136, 23.3127378