THE STATUE OF MICHAEL THE BRAVE
The equestrian statue of Michael the Brave was made by Oscar Han (1891-1976), a famous Romanian sculptor, a student of Dumitru Paciurea. Among his vast number of works, with various themes, we have a number of statues dedicated to some voyvoda or kings: the statue of Stephen the Great in Piatra Neamt, the statue of Vasile Lupu in Orhei, the statue of Constantine Brancoveanu in Bucharest, the statue of Charles I in Sinaia, most of the monuments being made before the communist era in Romania or sometimes later, after 1965.
As for the project, the general opinion is that Nicolae Ceausescu himself decided that the statue should be realized by Oscar Han, disfavoring other sculptors, because the sculptor was very old and the statue of Michael the Brave could have been his last important work (although he kept working afterwards). So, the statue of Michael the Brave initially conceived by Marius Butunoiu for Alba Iulia was instead placed in Cluj Napoca.
In Alba Iulia, the unveiling ceremony took place on November 28th, 1968, during the celebrations of the semi centenary of the union of Transylvania with Romania, Nicolae Ceausescu himself being present, at the time occupying the most important function in state, the one of Secretary General of Romanian Communist Party. The semi-centenary was an event of great importance for Alba Iulia as well.
The statue was placed in front of the Princely Palace where the voyvod lived and activated during the short period of time when he managed the destiny of the Transylvanian principate. Unlike other works of Oscar Han and dedicated to some voyvoda, Michael the Brave is presented mounted on a horse. The moment surprised by the statue is the triumphant entry in Alba Iulia, that is to say November 1st, 1599. The figure of the king radiates dignity and determination the king being marked by the signification of the moment. His physical features (very masculine lines, beard, vigorous body) are the conventional ones according to the coordinates determined by the best known images of the king, especially the engraving made by Aegidius Sadeler (made in Prague in 1601). Michael is wearing his famous „buciuman” (a hat or a cap) with the „surguch” (the bundle of feathers) on the right side, a light equipment, ample cloack and holding the mace triumphantly in his left hand because, as the chroncles of the time say, the king was left handed.
The monument is 8.46 meters high, the base being 2 meters high. The entire monted statue is made in bronze.
Scientific consultant: Tudor Roșu, PhD historian
Translation made by: Ciprian Dobra, PR expert
The moment of the uncovering of the statue, November 28th, 1968, was a real special one. 50 years passed since the union of Transylvania with Romania. Nicolae Ceausescu participated to the event, while occupying the most important function in the state –Secretary General of the Romanian Communist Party.
The word was that he decided that the work should be realized by the sculptor Oscar Han because the artist was an old man and this might have been his last important work. In reality, his artistic activity continued.
The placing of the statue in front of the Princely Palace was not random. The edifice is the place where Michael the Brave lived and activated during his short 10 months ruling over the destiny of the Transylvanian Principate.
The bronze statue is the only one realized by Oscar Han and dedicated to some voyvod in which the character is presented mounted on a horse. The artist chose to present Michael in his triumphant attitude while entering Alba Iulia on November 1st, 1599.
The ruler’s figure is proud, determined, marked by the significance of the moment. For the facial features the sculpture used the best known images from those times. Michael wears on his head his famous buciuman, a hat with some feathers on the side.
He wears an ample cloak and he holds the scepter in his left hand in a triumphant attitude. This is because the chronicles of time mention the fact that Michael the Brave was left-handed. The 8.46 meters high monument, from which only the base is 2 meters high, is the proof that in Alba Iulia, the memory of Michael the Brave is still alive and honored.