Adam Mickiewicz Monument

  Rynek Główny ,   Old Town         06 Nov 2023

Proudly poised in the middle of the market square is Adam Mickiewicz (1798-1855), Poland’s greatest literary hero. Known as the ‘Father of Polish Romanticism,’ his epic poems and dramas served as inspiration for insurrections against the imperial powers that had partitioned Poland out of existence in the late 18th century.

Here he stands atop a large pedestal surrounded by symbolic representations of the Motherland, Science & Learning, Poetry, and Patriotism. Ironically, this work by Teodor Rygier lost the design competition, but the public demanded it be built. Originally unveiled in 1898 to celebrate the centenary of the great man’s birth, like so many other symbols of national pride, the monument was destroyed by the Germans during WWII. The statue that stands in the Rynek today is a 1955 copy of Rygier’s original, and is a popular and easily recognisable meeting place. As for Mickiewicz (whose most famous work, Pan Tadeusz, begins with the words ‘Lithuania, my country!’), he never actually visited Kraków until 35 years after his death, when his body was laid to rest in the Royal Crypts just down the road at Wawel Cathedral.


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On looking closer at the monument I was disturbed to see that the little girl sat by the woman playing the lute on the 'Poetry' side of the monument is portrayed with her bodice undone and the strap pulled down her shoulder so that her chest is clearly exposed. It's very creepy to have chosen to show a child half-dressed. Any idea why (other than the excuse that it's 'art' so they can be as creepy as they like?)
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