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- Author Antoni Popiel
- Date of production 1906
- Place of creation Lviv?
- Dimensions height: 96 cm, length: base: 32 cm, width: base: 32 cm
- ID no. MHK 1957/III
- Availability in stock
- Object copyright Historical Museum of the City of Kraków
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
The plaster sculpture representing Tadeusz Kościuszko is a fragment of the model of the monument erected in Washington in 1910. Spacious, small-size models of monumental sculptures were demonstrative objects for a commissioner or for competitions. They were made of plaster—brittle, non-durable material — and, therefore, many of them did not survive.more
The plaster sculpture representing Tadeusz Kościuszko is a fragment of the model of the monument erected in Washington in 1910. Spacious, small-size models of monumental sculptures were demonstrative objects for a commissioner or for competitions. They were made of plaster—brittle, non-durable material — and, therefore, many of them did not survive. This makes the model of the Washington monument a highly valuable work of art, both in artistic as well as historical terms.
The full figure on the low, quadrilateral plinth shows Tadeusz Kościuszko standing straight and proud. The national hero was depicted in an American general’s uniform consisting of a short waistcoat, a double-breasted tail-coat with a high collar and general epaulettes on the shoulders; girded with a sash on the hips, tight trousers and high boots. His head is decorated with a bicorn, a military hat worn in the Napoleonic times by officers and generals in European and North American armies. In his right hand, resting on his leg, Kościuszko is holding a partially unrolled scroll. In his left hand is an unidentified object (Note — a request to the Museum for consultation: is it a sword hilt?). At his feet is a cannonball.
In 1903 in Chicago the Polish National Alliance, together with other Polish fraternal organisations operating in the United States at that time, passed a resolution to fund the monument commemorating Tadeusz Kościuszko. One year later, the Congress of the United States together with President Theodor Roosevelt agreed to erect the monument at the expense of “Polish-American organisations and the People of Poland in the United states.” At the end of 1905, the monument committee announced the competition for the design of the Tadeusz Kościuszko monument, which was addressed exclusively to Polish artists. Twenty models were sent, from among which the committee chose the work by the artist from Lviv—Antoni Popiel. A typical 19th-century monument consisted of the full figure representing the Polish national hero in an American uniform, with a map of American fortifications in Saratoga and a sword in his hand. It was placed on a tall, architectural plinth, surrounded with figural groups symbolising the Polish and American armed struggle for independence. The monument was erected in the years 1907–1909 in La Fayette Square in Washington. It was placed next to the monuments of three other foreigners who heroically participated in the war for the independence of the United States. The ceremonious unveiling of the Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument was held on 11 May 1910. A century later a faithful copy of the monument was placed in Plac Żelaznej Bramy [Iron-Gate Square] in Warsaw.
The creator of the monument was Antoni Sulima Popiel (1865–1910), a Polish sculptor, graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków and Vienna, disciple of Izydor Jabłoński, Władysław Łuszczkiewicz and Walery Gadomski. Having returned from his travels to Berlin and Florence, he finally settled in Lviv, where he took the position of the assistant to Professor Leonard Marconi in the department of drawing and modelling at the local polytechnic university. He went down in history of sculpture as the creator of numerous monumental works in Lviv. His works include the decoration of the vestibule in the Palace of Justice and the tympanum for the Grand Theatre and, primarily, the Adam Mickiewicz Monument. He has ties with Kraków by the work over the Tadeusz Kościuszko Monument, realised after the death of its designer, Leonard Marconi.
In the collection of the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków are numerous memorabilia connected with Tadeusz Kościuszko, including an epaulette from his American uniform from 1783.
Elaborated by Elżbieta Lang (Historical Museum of the City of Kraków), © all rights reserved