Renovation of the bust of Nicolaus Copernicus in Brussels Planetarium
This year we celebrate the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik). To honor this occasion, the Polish Institute Brussels realised the project of the renovation of the bust of this famous Polish astronomer. The sculpture is located at the entrance of the Brussels Planetarium of the Royal Observatory of Belgium at the Expo 1958 complex, not far from Atomium.
The sculpture, made in 1973, by Polish artist, Ludwika Nitschowa (1889-1989), shows the head of a man with slightly curled medium-length hair, with sharp facial features characteristic of the iconography of Copernicus, prominent eyebrows, almond-shaped eyes and a large nose. As in many other cities in the world, the scientist is the patron of an important astronomical institution.
Known as the author of the Mermaid in Warsaw and numerous monumental sculptures of famous Poles, Nitschowa, several years after the execution of the sculpture of Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) at the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, undertook again a project dedicated to this outstanding scientist, this time on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his birth. Here we are dealing with a bust made in bronze, not in stone, using other formal and aesthetic means.
The artist placed the bust of Copernicus on a low pedestal and a plinth, on which there is an engraved gilded inscription: KOPERNIK, below, a rectangular plaque cast in bronze screwed to the granite with the inscription in three languages:
DON DES BELGES ET DES POLONAIS DE BELGIQUE
À L’OCCASION DU 500-IÈME ANNIVERSAIRE DE LA
NAISSANCE DE L’ASTRONOME POLONAIS NICOLAS
COPERNIC * GIFT VAN DE BELGEN EN VAN DE IN
BELGIE VERBLIJVENDE POLEN TER GELEGEN HEID
VAN DE 500-STE VERJAARDAG VAN DE GEBOOR-
TE VAN DE POOLSE ASTRONOOM NICOLAAS
COPERNICUS * DAR BELGÓW I POLONII BELGIJ-
SKIEJ A OKAZJI 500-EJ ROCZNICY URODZIN POL-
IEGO ASTRONOMA MIKOŁAJA KOPERNIKA * 1973.
Above the plaque, the dates: 1473 | 1973 are engraved in the granite. On the sculpture, on the back, you can also see the author’s signature and the date of execution: Krassowska | Nitschowa | 1973.
Nicolaus Copernicus (Mikołaj Kopernik) was a Polish astronomer who lived from 1473 to 1543. He is best known for his heliocentric model of the solar system, which challenged the prevailing belief that the Earth was the center of the universe. Copernicus proposed that the Sun was at the center, with the planets, including Earth, orbiting around it. This idea, known as the Copernican heliocentrism, revolutionized our understanding of the cosmos and laid the foundation for modern astronomy. Copernicus’ work was published in his book “De Revolutionibus Orbium Coelestium”.
Photos by Nicolas De Borchgrave
The project was funded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.