King Jagiello Monument
The King Jagiello Monument is an equestrian monument of king of Poland and Grand Duke of Lithuania, Władysław II Jagiełło, located in Central Park, New York City. Raised on its grand plinth it is one of the most prominently-sited and impressive of twenty-nine sculptures located in Central Park. The monument is sited overlooking the east end of the Turtle Pond, across from Belvedere Castle and just south-east from the Great Lawn. To the northeast is Cleopatra's Needle and beyond, the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The bronze monument was created for the Polish 1939 New York World's Fair pavilion by the Polish sculptor Stanisław K. Ostrowski (1879-1947). It stood at the Fair's entrance at Queens' Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Ostrowski's name is engraved in the front lower right-hand corner.
The statue at the 1939 World's Fair was a replica of a King Jagiello memorial in Warsaw that was converted into bullets for World War II by the Germans after they entered and occupied the capital of Poland.
King Władysław II Jagiello is shown seated on a horse holding two crossed swords over his head as a symbol of defiance and of the union of Polish-Lithuanian forces. Known as the Grunwald Swords, they were the invitation to battle offered to the king and his ally Vytautas the Great in an ironic gesture by Ulrich von Jungingen, Grand Master of the Teutonic Order.
As a result of the German invasion of Poland that marked the beginning of the Second World War, the personnel and equipment of the Polish World's Fair pavilion was forced to remain in the United States. Unlike much of the rest of the pavilion which was sold to the Polish Museum of America in Chicago, the monument stayed in New York, thanks in part to mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia publicly lobbying to keep the statue. In July 1945, the statue was presented to the City of New York by the King Jagiello Monument Committee, with support from the Polish government in exile, and permanently placed in Central Park with the cooperation of the last pre-communist consul of Poland in New York, Kazimierz Krasicki.
Parks Chief Consulting Architect Aymar Embury II (1880–1966) designed the granite pedestal. POLAND is inscribed on both sides of the plinth.
The monument represents the triumph of Władysław II Jagiello, who was one of the most famous kings in the histories of Poland and Lithuania, and the creator of the dynastic union of Poland and Lithuania, at the medieval Battle of Grunwald in 1410. Polish and Lithuanian forces, supported by a coalition of Ruthenian, Czech and Tatar allies soundly defeated the Teutonic Order, which had the support of the finest knights of the primarily German, Dutch and English camp.
- "King Jagiello Monument". Central Park Conservancy. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- "Central Park: King Jagiello Monument". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- "The Government Zone (Zone 1) Poland". 1939nyworldsfair.com. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- McDannald, Alexander Hopkins (1948). Yearbook of the Encyclopedia Americana. Americana. p. 498. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- "La Guardia Pays Tribute to Poland". The New York Times. October 12, 1939. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
- Daniec, Jadwiga Irena (1982). "In the Footsteps of Stanislaw K. Ostrowski, 1879-1947". The Polish Review 27 (1/2): 77–91. Retrieved July 5, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to King Jagiello Monument.|
- Central Park Conservancy: King Jagiello Monument webpage
- Short film showing the monument in front of Polish Pavilion at 1939 New York World's Fair