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50 lei 2013 - Alexandru Plămădeală - 125 Years since Birth
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28 mm diameter, 13 g, 99.9% silver, grained edge
year 2013, circular inscription REPUBLICA MOLDOVA meaning "REPUBLIC OF MOLDAVIA" and the coat of arms of the Republic of Moldavia, in exergue horizontal line and denomination "50 LEI"
bust of Romanian sculptor Alexandru Plămădeală and the statue of Stephen the Great and the Holy from downtown Chișinău, inscription ALEXANDRU PLĂMĂDEALA 1888 - 1940

Issuing date: 12th of July 2013

Mintage: 1000 coins

About Alexandru Plămădeală

Alexandru Plămădeală was born at Chișinău in 1888. He studied sculpture at Moscow and he then worked for two years at the Petrograd mint. After that he was the director of the Drawing School in Chișinău. Presently the institution was transformed into the College of Plastic Arts [Colegiul de Arte Plastice] and bears his name. His main work is the statue of Stephen the Great placed in the center of municipium Chișinău.

About the Statue of Stephen the Great and the Holy in Chișinău

In 1924 an initiative committee head by archbishop Gurie started the project to build in Chișinău a monument dedicated to Stephen the Great. Alexandru Plămădeală was contacted, so that he executed several proposal projects, the third being the one approved by the committee,

The statue of Stephen the Great was finished in 1927. The monument was inaugurated in 1928, when a decade was celebrated since the Union of Basarabia to the Motherland. The statue was cast in bronze at Bucharest, in the workshops of Vasile V. Rășcanu. According to the legend, the metal used was got by melting of Turkish cannons captured during the Independence War waged between 1877 and 1878. The pedestal of the statue was designed by architect Eugen Bernardazzi (1883-1931, at the time architect of the city of Chișinău, son of architect Alexandru Bernardazzi). Adorned with folk Moldavian motifs, the pedestal was made out of Cosăuți stone.

After the Soviet ultimatum in 1940 the statue was transported to Vaslui, where it stood over to August 1942 (having been installed next to Saint John church, founded by the great voivod himself), when it was retrieved to Chișinău. In 1944 the statue was evacuated again, this time to Craiova. In 1945 sculptor Claudia Cobizev (1905-1995) from Chișinău, at the time translator at the Allied (in fact, Soviet) Control Commission, stumbled upon the statue of Stephen in a park in Craiova and warned the Soviet authorities. The statue returned thusly to Chișinău, as declared to be a cultural good smuggled out out of USSR. The cross, sword and inscriptions were changed and denatured. In 1971 a decision was taken to restore it and install a new pedestal, that would have corresponded to the idea of the author (with the exception of the Moldavian coat of arms and acanthus leaves). In 1972 the emplacement of the monument was changed (18 meters deep inside the park). At August 31st 1990 the monument of Stephen the Great has been returned to its historical emplacement chosen by Alexandru Plămădeală. The initial inscriptions were reestablished.

Heritage of Plămădeală's Statue

The voivod countenance imagined by Plămădeală is heedful, harrowed with age and duty to posterity, thus resulting into an original concept, currently present on all banknotes of the Republic of Moldova in circulation. It is one of the most beautiful statues dedicated to Stephen the Great and the only one displaying the great Romanian as giving precedence to the cross with respect to the sword, placing by allegory the later in the service of the former. Poem "Suveranitate” [Sovereignty] of patriot and poet Ion Hadîrcă, put to song in 1990 by Ion and Doina Aldea-Teodorovici, makes an indirect address, of deep significance, to this allegoric, original aspect of the statue of Plămădeală: "Spada-n piatră, neclintită-i vatra, / Crucea-n ceruri ară adevărul" [Sword onto stone, unfaltering is the hearth, / Cross in heavens ploughs the truth].

Another known work of Plămădeală, kept in Romania, withdrawn from the Soviet invasion, is the bust of scientist Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, now positioned in the courtyard of the palace-museum at Cîmpina.


Colesnic, I., Chișinăul din amintire. Editura Grafema Libris, Chișinău, 2011.

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