The Monument to Francisc Skorina in Minsk
Sculpture, monuments, memorials
In Minsk there are several monuments to our well-known printing pioneer. This is because the contribution of Francisc Skorina to the development of printing and, indeed, to the history of Belarus can hardly be overestimated. Everywhere monuments to this great figure are installed, streets are called in his honor, as well as the honorary state awards – the order and medal, and in Gomel one of the main Universities of the town is named after the book-printer – the Gomel State University of Skorina.
The monument discussed in this article is closely associated with the appearance of such an impressive building as the National Library of Belarus on the map of Minsk. It is highly symbolic that in front of the main library of the country there is the statue of the man who in his time was at the origins of book-printing.
The first Eastern Slavic book-printer
Francisc Skorina was one of the greatest figures that have ever been born in the Belarusian land. The future printing pioneer of the East Slavs was born in Polotsk in 1490. He received his early education at home, later studied in Krakow, where he received several important academic titles of a bachelor of medicine and doctor of free sciences. In order to obtain the title of a doctor of medicine Francis Skorina went to t Italian Padua in 1512, where he did not study and only passed exams in medicine externally, brilliantly confirming his qualification.
The beginning of the printing activity dates back to 1517. At the time Skorina founded a printing house in Prague where he published his first book called "Psalms." It was a truly unique edition of the time: the book was printed in Cyrillic in the people’s language that was radically different fr om all the recognized variants of the Scriptures that existed at that time.
Further activities of Skorina were connected with the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania – Vilna wh ere he continued his publishing activities and opened the first printing house in the state.
The fate of Francisc Skorina did not shape well as he was often persecuted for his advanced humanistic views. In Moscow all the book of the printing pioneer were burned... But now his heritage lives on and is appreciated by descends as the greatest good.
Immortalized in bronze
The tender to create a bronze statue of Francisc Skorina was held in 1989. In 1991 a winner was declared – the sculptor Alexander Dranets. However, the monument was cast only in the late XX century, and established just over a decade ago – in 2005.
It is noteworthy that initially the monument to Francisc Skorina was supposed to be installed in front of the Belarusian Academy of Sciences. It was logical as the main building of the Academy is located in the avenue that is named after the enlightener. Prominent figures of art and culture, sculptors and architects, as well as representatives of the Ministry of Culture and the Minsk Executive Committee were in favor of this location. However, the leadership of the Academy thought otherwise for some reason and refused. They were motivated by the fact that the monument, no matter to whom, would spoil the look of the existing architectural ensemble. Due to this fact the installation of the finished monument took much time.
Despite the fact that the monument to Francisc Skorina was installed in 2005, its official opening was held only in the following year, 2006. The reason for the delay of the opening was due to the fact that later the monument was added to with three reliefs depicting milestones in the life of Francisc Skorina - Polotsk, Prague and Padua. Now the monument looks very harmonious opposite the National Library, as if this place was originally chosen for the installation of the monument.