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The Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility gift a sculpture of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas

To commemorate the occasion of Vilnius’ 700th anniversary, the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility gifted to the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania a sculpture created by Prof. Konstantinas Bogdanas of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas. The sculpture, cast in bronze by sculptor Rimantas Keturka, was unveiled on a symbolic site at the museum – the Gediminas’ castle tower, unearthed by archeaologists and now exhibited to visitors.  

The sculptor’s dream

Konstantinas Bogdanas began to create a sculpture depicting Lithuania’s Grand Duke Gediminas back in the postwar years, however at this time censors disapproved of the project. The work on display today at the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania was created when the Soviet Union was already nearing its end. Professor Konstantinas Bogdanas’ (1926–2011) work has already reached classic status in Lithuanian sculpture: the Donelaitis monument in Vilnius, composer J. Gruodis’ monument in Kaunas, the monument honouring the Blessed J. Matulaitis at the Vilnius Archcathedral, a memorial for the partisans who died for Lithuania’s freedom and for deportees – in Žeimiai... Bogdanas has designed around 300 sculptural works in all. Historical themes had always moved Bogdanas ever since he was a student – back then, he created the well-known historical composition The 1863 Peasant Uprising in Lithuania. The artist had also created a number of religious works, however this was all done in secret during the Soviet years: he painted St Anthony for the Smilgiai church, with his colleague J. Čerškytė they created a sculpture of the Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God into which, as witnesses claim, the artist placed a proclamation addressed to Lithuania’s youth. 

The Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility dedicates funds to enshrine historical memory 

Bogdanas was also one of the founders of the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility. With the permission of the professor’s family, the union initiated the casting in bronze of his sculpture of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas, and gifted the work to the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania to commemorate Vilnius’ 700th anniversary. The project initiated back in 2022 was supported by more than 60 members of the nobility and their family members. 

According to the Head of the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility, Perlis Vaisieta, “thanks to all of our efforts, we managed to realise this initiative – our gift to Vilnius and the museum, a sculpture of the Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas. … It is as if Gediminas has finally ridden home, to write his letters, so that his words from the past may reach us today”.

Founder of the Gediminid dynasty

Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas (born ca 1275, reigned in 1316–1341) was one of the most eminent rulers of Lithuania, the founder of the Gedimind dynasty. Under his reign, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania developed into the most powerful state in Eastern Europe, even Central European states acquiesed to its interests. 

The letter of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas dated January 25, 1323, in which the ruler’s city Vilnius is mentioned for the first time, became the place of origin of Gediminas and his dynasty, while the castles in the Lithuanian capital were deemed as the most important residence of the Gediminid-Jagiellon dynasty. The representatives of this dynasty, the Jagiellons, not only ruled Lithuania in the 15th–16th centuries, but Bohemia, Poland and Hungary as well. 

The sculpture of Grand Duke of Lithuania Gediminas will be unveiled in an authentic Vilnius Lower Castle archaeological excavation site – among the extant fragments of the early 14th-century brick octagonal tower of Gediminas’ castle. Visitors will also be able to see a virtual reality narrative, which shows how the site could have looked when the ruler lived here. 

Bringing meaning to their activities by reminding us of the past

To date, the Lithuanian Royal Union of Nobility has realised other similar projects: a memorial boulder with the Vytis was unveiled at Grunwald, at the site of the Battle of Grunwald, with the participation of presidential delegations from Lithuania and Poland; thanks to the efforts of the Vilnius District Union of the Nobility, a bas-relief of the Grand Duchess of Lithuania, Queen of Poland, Royal Princess of Naples and the Duchess of Bari and Rossano Bona Sforza (1494–1557) was uncovered at the Renaissance Garden of the National Museum – Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania. According the union’s head, Perlis Vaisieta, “these are but a few of the initiatives realised in recent years as part of the union’s cultural activities”.

 

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Published:: 2023-11-10 08:47 Modified: 2023-11-13 08:52
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