Janaq Paço (1914, Konitsa, Kingdom of Greece - 1991, Tirana, Albania) was one of the best known Albanian sculptors of the 20th century. Some of his prominent works include the monuments of Skanderbeg in Kruja, Tirana, and Pristina, Kosovo (reproduced post-mortem), as well as The Gladiators.
Paço studied first in his home town and then at the high school in Thessaloniki, Greece. Afterwards he entered the Athens School of Fine Arts in Athens. During his studies, Paço worked and studied with the Greek modern sculptor Costandinos Dimitriadis, himself a student of Auguste Rodin, and others.
Paço was one of the founders of the Albanian sculpture school and tradition.
In addition to his realistic sculptures, Paço created also many nude sculptures during the 1960s and 1970s, and was obliged to destroy them, fearing punishment from the Communist Regime. During this time he was criticized by other members of the Albanian League of Writers and Artists. This led him to gradually dissociate himself from the League.
Bibliography of art works
Main part of his work:
- The monument of Skanderbeg in Krujë (started in 1949; finished in 1959), which was later copied in Pristina, Kosovo, after the 1998–1999 Kosovo War.
- The monument of Skanderbeg (1968), today in "Scanderbeg Square" in Tirana, where he co-worked with the first Albanian sculptor Odhise Paskali and Andrea Mano
- Two statues of Fan Noli, and one of Aleksandër Moisiu (1960s)
- The Gladiators (1973) (3.5 m), anticipated to be placed at the entrance of the ancient Durrës Amphitheatre in Durrës
- The sculptural group Skanderbeg with the People (1982), which is placed in the entrance of the Skanderbeg Museum in Krujë
Awards and prizes
- In 1984, he was awarded the title People's Artist of Albania.
- At the exhibition "Spring '90" at the National Art Gallery of Albania, Paço won first prize with his art work Girl's Portrait (Albanian: Portret vajze), which one year earlier (before the Fall of Communism in Albania) was prohibited to be exhibited inside the gallery as a "modern art work".