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Creator of Freedom Monument – Kārlis Zāle

Traditionally we write about people who have their birthdays this month and now it is turn for Kārlis Zāle – celebrating his birthday on the 28th of October.

A sculptor and monumentalist. His most important life works are Freedom Monument and Brethren Cemetary ensemble( war cemetary). He was one of the most influential figures in Latvian art and culture in Latvia`s years of independence between 1918 and 1940 and in Latvian culture generally.

Many are not aware that Kārlis Zāle is born in 1888 in Mažeikiai, Lithuania (at that time part of Kaunas Province). He graduated from Kazan Art school in 1913 and until 1920 studied at S. Erzya`s Studio in Moscow and the Imperial School of the Society for the promotion of Arts, Academy of Arts and the State Art Workshops in Petrograd(St Petersburg).

During 1920s Kārlis Zāle became an influential member of Latvia`s artistic and cultural society, from 1936 he also headed Art Academy of Latvia Sculpture Workshop and was a professor there.

His works manifested powerful national-romantic sense of life and history. He mostly utilised relief technique and accentuated the synthesis of sculpture with architecture. In his monumental works he spoke in language of symbol and allegory.

He died on 19th of February 1942 and is buried in Brethren Cemetary.

Here you can also see a movie about Kārlis Zāle – Ievainotais Jātnieks 2017(Wounded Rider) which is based on his life happenings. Movie is in Latvian language.

Here is the web site for Freedom Monument and Brethren Cemetery where you can find detailed info about these two greatest works of Kārlis Zāle.