|Richard Kissling 1848-1919|
After 13 years in Rome , he went back to Switzerland, where one of his works, a bust of Alfred Escher was noticed in the Zürich Exposition of 1883. It won him a commission work to build the fountain/monument honoring Escher in the Zürich main train station.
Swiss National Hero
In 1892, Kissling won the competition to design the monument of Swiss national hero William Tell for the town of Altdorf in the canton of Schwyz. With 30 artists joining the contest, Kissling's design of William Tell with his arm around his son and a crossbow won first price. The famous William Tell monument of Altdorf is probably Kisslings most famous work.
"Kissling produced a detailed image of Tell, which cast him as a peasant and man of the mountains , with strong features of muscular limbs his powerful hands rest lovingly in the shoulder of little Walter. Kissling did not try to represent the pierced apple, which would have detracted from the solemnity of the composition. Kissling would eventually be commissioned to provide monuments for dozens of town in Switzerland. His bronzes gave Swiss tangible image of figures in their national history, in the days before mass media'"-- From Swissinfo
Another National Hero
Winners were then announced in 1908, first prize going to "Al Martir de Bagumbayan" by Italian Carlo Nicoli, second prize going to Kissling. Unfortunately Nicoli was not able to fulfill the necessary requirements to seal the contract and due to other vague reasons, the commissioned work was awarded to Kissling.
|Study on Rizal monument-Ink on paper. Perhaps the earliest plan by Kissling on the monument. Dated 1905. Kunsthaus Zurich.|
Wassen and Gothard Granite
In 1911, Kissling then began his work on the monument. The bronze statue of Rizal including the figures around the main statue of the subject was conceptualized in his Zürich atelier then cast in Paris. It was then transported to Wassen, in the canton of Uri for mounting and measurement for its granite base, pedestal and the obelisk. Wassen happens to be a place where the famous Gotthard granite could be found. From there, Kissling easily managed the necessary cut of the stones.
|At the Swiss Alps. The monument during its mounting in Wassen. (Photo courtesy of Gemeinde Wassen/ Wassen Community Website, Uri, Switzerland)|
|The quarry for granite in Wassen. Where the stone of the obelisk and the pedestal of the Rizal monument was taken (Photo courtesy of Gemeinde Wassen/ Wassen Community Website, Uri, Switzerland)|
From the Alps, the cast bronze statue, the stones of the base and pedestal were transported via railway to neighboring Italy where it took a ship from the Mediterranean going to the Suez and traveled to the Philippines where it was reassembled in the Luneta.
In 1913, to commemorate the 17th year of Rizal's execution Richard Kissling's "Motto Stella" was unveiled.
|Kissling in 1914|
Richard Kissling died in Zürich July 19, 1919. The once famous artist of his country, who was once called "national sculptor of Switzerland", died almost forgotten, owing to the fact that his "classic-heroic" style was already considered obsolete in his time. It was said that the plaster model of one of his famous work "Alfred Escher Monument" was even thrown in the Lake of Zürich.
|The William Tell monument in Altdorf.|
|Statue of Alfred Escher in Zurich main train station|
|Rizal monument. Notice the similarity to the Escher statue revealing the style of the artist.|