Monument to Adomas Mickevičius

Monument to Adomas Mickevičius

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The first design proposed for a monument of Adam Mickiewicz for Vilnius was promoted by Zbigniew Pronaszko of Vilnius University (then, Stefan Batory University in the Second Polish Republic). However, in May 1925, a contest was declared for the proposed monument.  The period for submitting designs was extended a number of times thanks to the deep interest in the project by the artistic scene, with 67 designs ultimately submitted.  The jury consisted of Vilnius’s Municipal authorities and representatives of the arts scene, with General Lucjan Żeligowski at the helm. First prize went to Avant-Garde artist Stanisław Szukalski, Second Prize to Rafał Jachimowicz, with the third prize awarded to Mieczysław Lubelski According to Szukalski’s design Mickiewicz was naked, lying upon a sacrificial altar. The artist had the sculpture situated on a large pedestal in the shape of an Aztec pyramid. A White Eagle- Poland’s national symbol was perched at the figure’s side where it symbolically drank blood from the poet’s wound. Szukalski’s design was highly divisive, with strong emotions coming to the surface that were for and against the design, among Poland’s intelligentsia, leadership, art critics as well as ordinary individuals. The polarized atmosphere led the monument committee to arrange for a new contest, this time consisting of only concepts by artists that were invited. The winner was Henryk Kuna, whose proposal was chosen.

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