“Peas” To Grow On The Reconstructed Mendlovo Namesti

Peas. This is the name of the monument that will be created on the reconstructed Mendlovo namesti on the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the birth of the father of genetics, Gregor Johann Mendel. The designer of the work that best met the criteria of the public competition is Jaroslav Gargulák. You can see another of his sculptures, Prometheus, at the Masaryk University Faculty of Social Studies. Credit: Together, op p

Brno, Dec 17 (BD) – The year 2022 will see the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Gregor Johann Mendel, the first scientist to describe the laws of inheritance, on the basis of his experiments with pea breeding. He thus laid the foundations of genetics, one of the most important scientific disciplines today. Part of these celebrations, sponsored by the Czech President Miloš Zeman, will be the creation of a work of art that will remind Brno citizens of the life and work of the world-famous naturalist.

Pope Francis himself recently blessed the cornerstone of the future monument in Rome as part of an audience. The Vatican has confirmed that Mendel is perceived as one of the most important representatives of the Order of St. Augustine of all time.

200 years after the great scientist’s birth, the Executive Board of UNESCO has included it on the organisation’s anniversary list. The celebrations will also coincide with the Czech Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The realization of the statue for Mendel will be one of the pillars of the anniversary.

The Peas monument from a birds eye view. Credit: Together, op p

After a tough competition, the jury chose a work called Hrachovina (“Peas”) by Jaromír Gargulák as the most suitable proposal. Gargulák was the winner of the Masaryk Academy of Arts in Prague award for artistic creation, and his works are represented in galleries in the Czech Republic and abroad, as well as in private collections in Canada, Japan, Switzerland and Norway. He designed the statue of the railway builder Jan Perner in Česká Třebová, and the sculpture Prometheus, which can be seen at the Faculty of Social Studies of Masaryk University in Brno. The victory in the competition surprised him and came as an early Christmas present: “It is said that no one at home is a prophet, so I did not expect it. And I fairly admit that it is a great commitment to participate in the work of a person as important as Gregor Johann Mendel,” he said in response to his victory.

The idea had been simmering in the designer’s imagination for several weeks. The 63-year-old artist, who studied foundry technology and always makes only one original casting, tried to delve into the secrets of Mendel’s laws of inheritance as best he could during the competition. He even bought a pea plant, which he planted at his home so that he could observe it at various stages of cultivation. “I felt like I was in elementary school, watching the peas grow, come to life, and based on that, I started sketching and modeling stelae. My wife and daughter made fun of me, they didn’t believe I could win at all. Over time, I toyed with the breeding variant. I considered going somewhere towards DNA, but because Mendel worked with plants, it kept bringing me back to that pea.” 

Top left view from Křížová street, top right from the public transport stop, bottom left from brewery and bottom right from the monastery. Credit: Together, op p

It was the detailed alignment of Gargulák’s proposal with Mendel’s laws of inheritance that finally led the jury to choose Hrachovina, which should remind current and future generations of Mendel’s groundbreaking discovery. “The winning design consists of a total of four separate objects and contains all the laws of inheritance defined by Mendel, while the monumental part of the work shows the crossing of alleles at complete dominance, where the resulting phenotypic fission ratio occurs when using Mendel’s square. It is precisely depicted on the sculpture, where the dominant material is bronze,” said  professor emeritus and academic sculptor Kurt Gebauer, a member of the expert jury.

The statue for Mendel will be funded not only from private sources, but also with support requested from public sources. At the same time, the organizers have announced a public collection through a transparent account with Česká spořitelna, which has the number 6175140379/0800.

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