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 sculptor of the monument was Stanisław K. Ostrowski (1879-1947), who created this bronze monument for the Polish 1939 New York World's Fair pavilion; it stood at its entrance at Queens' Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. His name is engraved in the front lower right-hand corner. The statue at the fair was a replica of a memorial that was converted into bullets by the Germans after they entered Warsaw.
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 it 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. On both sides of the plinth the word POLAND is inscribed. The monument was conserved in 1986 by the Central Park Conservancy.
King Ladislaus 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.
The monument represents the triumph of 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.
- "Central Park: King Jagiello Monument". New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- McDannald, Alexander Hopkins (1948). Yearbook of the Encyclopedia Americana. Americana Corporation. p. 498. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- "La Guardia Pays Tribute to Poland". The New York Times. 1939-10-12. Retrieved 2009-09-16.
|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