Ideas for monuments commemorating Antanas Smetona and Jonas Basanavičius 0

Arūnas Vyšniauskas, 2016-04-27

In brief: Lithuanian government has foreseen many measures in the commemoration program of the hundredth anniversary of Lithuanian state restoration. The program was approved by the government in the resolution of 2015, August 19. Among the measures there are plans to build monuments in Vilnius for Jonas Basanavičius and Antanas Smetona. I would like to say a word concerning the monuments, the building of which, according to the President Dalia Grybauskaitė is "the matter of our honor."

Vilnius Municipality decided what should be the place for J. Basanavičius monument during the meeting, in 2016, on March 23rd - it should stand in front of the National Philharmonic. The municipality's report contains the sketch of J. Basanavičius monument, which was offered by sculptor Rapolas Jakimavičius even before the World War Two. It depicts a large body and a relatively small head.

As for the place of A. Smetona monument - it is still unclear. Considering various options, I would like to express my opinion that the monument for the first Lithuanian President could stand next to the Lithuanian National Museum, in the green square that already inhabits the monument for Lithuanian king Mindaugas, who is depicted sitting on a throne.

To honor J. Basanavičius, I would suggest building a monument-head in front of the Philharmonic. There are not so many of such monuments in the world and they should not be confused with busts. Last year, Danes cast a bronze monument-head for their famous writer Hans Christian Andersen.

It is worth mentioning a monument for Karl Marx, standing in the German city of Chemnitz. Tourists love taking photos next to the 7 meter-high, 7 meter-wide and 9 meter-deep stylized head.

This type of monuments, however, are not a sculptural innovation. They have been known for a long time. For example, in Central America, long before the Aztecs, such heads were carved in Olmec monolithic stone.

Vilnius also has a monument-head with a few meter-long neck. However, due to its size, this bronze head cannot be called gigantic. Despite that it is the most favorite tourist object - everyone wants to take a photograph next to the first monument for the famous American musician.

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