Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Egyptomania in Ljubljana (1)

The Slovenian architect Jože Plečnik  (1872-1957) and the sculptor Lojze Dolinar(1893-1970) erected in 1927 at trg Francoske Revolucije(French Revolution Square ) a square obelisk to the period of the Illyrian Province (1809-13), celebrating a time when the Slovenes (under French rule in Napoleon's time) were allowed a great degree of self-determination, particularly concerning language. The monument is topped with the emblem of Illyria and has the head of Napoleon on one side, the personification of Illyria as a maiden on the other. It contains the remains of one of Napoleon’s unknown soldiers. Towards the top of the obelisk is a piece of stone that juts out a little. There is a story behind this that illustrates the excellent relationship and empathy Plečnik had with his craftsmen, himself having begun his career as a cabinet maker. The story goes that one of the craftsmen broke a piece of stone and was about to discard it when Plečnik stopped him, saying it should be made an integral part of the obelisk. It was to serve as an example as to how we should make virtues from our mistakes.

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