Tuesday, 31. 8. 2010

The ivan hribar sculpture

To mark the 100th anniversary of the end of the mayoral term of Ivan Hribar – he was Mayor of Ljubljana from 1896 to 1910 – Ljubljana has a new sculpture of him.

In 2009 at the suggestion of its Commission for the Installation of Public Monuments and Memorials, the City of Ljubljana adopted a resolution to commemorate Ivan Hribar in 2010, the 100th anniversary of his 14-year mayoral term.

The modern image of Ljubljana owes a great deal to Ivan Hribar, as he boldly invited architects and planners to add a secessionist style to the pre-existing medieval and baroque after the catastrophic earthquake of 1895. Thus the city was given its first ever urban plan. Hribar understood how cities worked and knew the significance of his developmental plan. The city should have its own lungs, from where arose new greening, Sodnijski trg, Justice Square, today's Miklošič Park, was created in a new park in front of the Palace of Justice; with the construction of a city power plant in 1898 Ljubljana shone with electric light and electric trams ran along the streets; new bridges, mansions, new hospitals, city people's baths, almshouses and new schools were all built. In the 14 years of Hribar's mayoral term the city doubled in size. The charisma of Ljubljana's best mayor still today characterises his life and work.

For the Ivan Hribar sculpture, the City of Ljubljana prepared a tender in which three renowned Slovenian academic sculptors were invited to take part: Jakov Brdar, Mirsad Begić and Metod Frlic. The Commission, comprising City of Ljubljana Deputy Mayor Aleš Čerin (president) and members City of Ljubljana Deputy Mayor Prof. Janez Koželj, Dr Milček Komelj, Alenka Mihelčič and Miljana Butina Smrdel unanimously chose to select the entry submitted by academic sculptor Mirsad Begić.

In its selection, the Commission relied on the power of creative expression, and at the same time to equal measure the suitability of the submissions for the prescribed purpose – the placement of a statue of Mayor Hribar – thus the portrait recognisability and the integration of ideas with Ivan Hribar's work and importance, as well as the suitability for erection in the chosen place. Begić's draft guaranteed artistic credibility, great individual recognisability of the subject and suitability for placement in the space with the assigned pedestal and background via which the work in its dimensions fits into the environment simultaneously as an architectural and sculptural image. With the Ivan Hribar sculpture, the newly remodelled Breg also receives its final outlines.

In this work, sculptor Mirsad Begić proves himself as an excellent portraitist, who is able creatively and convincingly to link completely recognisable exterior portraiture with something internally uplifting spiritually in diverse psychological registers and life periods. Hribar is thought of as a visionary that looked to the future.

The sculptor has conceived and portrayed Ivan Hribar at the moment that he received a letter in which he obtained the Emperor's support for the post-earthquake renovation of Ljubljana.