“I sing for my Fatherland”: Unveiling of Vladimir Mayakovsky’s monument

July 30
Culture

The sculpture of Vladimir Mayakovsky was unveiled in the centre of Moscow on 29 July 1958.  In the Main Archives of Moscow there are documents on how the monument was created.

Its foundation was laid way back in April 1940 on Mayakovsky Square (known as Triumfalnaya Square today), but the construction work only got underway after the Great Patriotic War.  A contest was announced that resulted in the victory of a project submitted by sculptor Alexander Kibalnikov and architect Dmitry Chechulin.

On 3 July 1956, the Executive Committee of the Moscow City Soviet approved a resolution “On the Construction of a Monument to Vladimir Mayakovsky in the City of Moscow.” It was commissioned by the Directorate of Culture of the Moscow City Soviet’s Executive Committee. The plans were drawn up by the Dormostproyekt Institute, and the cast was made at the Monumental Sculpture foundry in Leningrad.

On 29 July 1958, the unveiling ceremony took place, attended by writers, performers, artists, scientists, and workers. One of the invitees, who was positioned on a platform next to the monument hidden under a piece of white silk, was Lyudmila Mayakovskaya, the poet’s sister. 

Unveiling the monument to poet Vladimir Mayakovsky on Mayakovsky Square. Photographer Valentin Mastyukov. Moscow, 29 July 1958.  Courtesy of Main Archives of Moscow

The event was opened by poet Nikolai Tikhonov, the then Deputy General Secretary of the USSR Union of Writers. He noted in his remarks that Mayakovsky “merged his life with art and the life of his country so naturally that his biography was dissolved in his poetic exploits, the political poetry became his personal cause, and his intimate lyrical poetry boldly intruded into the area of the so-called civic versification.” Other speakers were USSR Minister of Culture Nikolai Mikhailov and teacher Tatyana Zepalova from Moscow School No. 110.  The ceremony culminated in a floral tribute being laid to the granite pedestal bearing an etched line from Mayakovsky’s poem “Fine!”

Later, the bronze sculpture, or rather the spot around it, became a traditional meeting place for young people. In the 1950s, it was frequented by fashionable characters.  In the 1960s, young poets recited their poems there. In the 1970s, the area became a hippie haunt. In the 1980s and the early 1990s, rockers and punks stepped into their shoes. Today, street musicians regularly perform there.

Source: mos.ru

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