Rizal Monument (Luneta)

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The Rizal Monument in Luneta is a bronze statue on a granite base that represents the Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal and it marks the mausoleum that houses Rizal's remains. It is one of the most famous of Philippine monuments.

The monument is guarded 24 hours a day, every day of the year, by pairs of unmoving honor guard sentries standing at attention. There is a 31-meter flagpole that soars high above the monument. On one side of the Rizal Monument is a marble plaque that marks the exact spot in Luneta where the hero met his death by firing squad.

A plaque with the words of Rizal's final poem, Mi ultimo adios (My Last Farewell); and a stone fountain from Ulm, Germany, where Rizal studied as a student can be found near the monument.

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Background

On 28 September of that same year, the Philippine Assembly approved Act No. 243, “granting the right to use public land upon the Luneta in the city of Manila” where a monument shall be erected to Jose Rizal.” As stated by the Act, the monument would consist not only of a statue, but also a mausoleum to house Rizal’s remains.

A Committee on the Rizal Mausoleum consisting of Poblete, Paciano Rizal (the hero’s brother), Juan Tuason, Teodoro R. Yangco, Mariano Limjap, Dr. Maximo Paterno, Ramon Genato, Tomas G. del Rosario and Dr. Ariston Bautista was formed to supervise the project.

The making of the statue

The sculpture was designed and created by Swiss sculptor Robert Kissling. His design for the statue was one of many entries to an international art competition held in 1905-1907 to choose a design for a monument to Rizal.

Kissling's design for the statue was one of many entries to an international art competition held in 1905-1907 to choose a design for a monument to Rizal. Kissling's design was actually only awarded second prize. The first prize went to an elaborate design by Carlos Nicoli of Carrara, Italy. The contract was awarded to Kissling of Zurich, however, for his entry entitled Motto Stella (Guiding Star) apparently because his statue was less costly to create. The estimated cost to execute his design was only about 100,000 pesos, much lower than the 200,000 said to be needed for Nicoli's design. Nicoli may also have been unable to post the required 20,000 peso bond. Therefore, despite criticism of the second prize design and a complaint reportedly filed by Nicoli, the contract was awarded to Kissling.

It actually cost more to make the statue, and it took twelve years for the project to be completed. The monument was finally unveiled on 30 December 1913, Rizal’s 17th death anniversary.

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Citation

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