From David Černý’s two men by the Kafka Museum (more on that in another post) to giant babies crawling up the Zizkov television tower, Prague has statues everywhere. Some, like those two examples, are just plain strange while others have such passion and intricacy, it’s amazing bronze could capture it.
Take, for instance, those at Palackého náměstí, not too far south of the city center but definitely away for the tourist crowds.
František Palacký (pronounced Palat-ski), one of three considered a Father of the Nation, is honored here.
Sculptor Stanislav Sucharda constructed this from 1901 to1912. His allegorical bronze figures surround Palacký, who was a historian before becoming a politician. From this background, he sought to give the Czechs more independence within federated Austria in the mid-1800s. Palacký especially supported the Czech National Revival, putting more emphasis on the native language and literature. He fought against Germanization, which had resulted in burning of Czech books and the use of German by the elite while mostly peasants used Czech.
Sucharda’s figures represent the oppression and awakening of the people. On the granite above a stern Palacký the words say, “Svému buditeli a vůdci vzkříšený národ.” Translated, that is, “From the resurrected Nation, to its revivalist and leader.”