Thursday, June 24, 2010

More Heroic Statuary

Here's two more of my favorite heroic socialist realist statues. Above, and in detail below, is the monument "Bohaterom Warszawy," "To the Heroes of Warsaw, 1939-1945" in Warsaw, Poland. The statue shows a bare-chested woman crushed down on one knee but rising up to defend herself with a sword. It harkens back both to ancient statues of Nike, goddess of victory, but also to the 19th-century armed mermaid statue ("Sirenka") that guards Warsaw from its old city square. It was erected in 1964 at the height of the Polish People's Republic; I took these photos in 1976.

Warsaw was pretty much destroyed during the Second World War. It suffered bombardment during the Nazi invasion of 1939, but then during the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising of 1942-43 and the general Warsaw Uprising of 1944 it became a battlefield as first the dwindling Jewish population and later the Polish Home Army rebelled. Huge portions of the city were flattened and thousands and thousands of civilians were killed.

The monument really captures the heroism and desperation of the times.

This is the monument to the True Heroes of the Revolution in Managua, Nicaragua. The inscription at the base of the monument reads, "Solo los Obreros y Campesinos Iran Hasta el Fin," "Only the Workers and Peasants Will See It Through To The End" I'm not sure when after the 1979 revolution it was erected but I photographed it in 1986. It shows a young bare-chested male guerrilla with a pickaxe in one hand and a rifle in the other. The statue has a rough quality about it, and a tremendous amount of motion is captured in the lines of the figure; even his hair is wild and free.

All photos by me. Click on them to see them larger.

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