The Fate Remaining a Mystery to This Day

While working on the novel The Sacrifice, I had to inquire about the fate of the young people who were sent to study in Ottoman Turkey and Europe by the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic (ADR)...

They went to Istanbul in late 1919 under the leadership of Bahram Bey Akhundov, who studied in France. And from there, they went on to Italy subsequent to a visa grant but with difficulty, and then to France. They were enrolled in higher education in these countries, as well as in Belgium, Germany and Austria, among other countries in Europe. Only a few months after its establishment the Democratic Republic collapsed, leaving these young people, who had gone abroad with great hopes, in the grip of extreme poverty. Some did not return to Azerbaijan, while most of the returnees were subjected to repression.

One of the young men was Zeynal Alizade (Aliyev in official documents)...

As Zeynal Alizade was educated at the Moscow Institute of Commerce and was good with German, he had appealed to the Ministry of Education to continue to study architecture and sculpture with academies in Frankfurt, Germany, or in Rome, Italy, or in Perugia in Tuscany, a region in central Italy.

Based on the decision of ADR’s Parliament, dated September 1, 1919, he was sent to continue his study of architecture at the Royal Academy of Paintings in Rome, Italy, at the state expense following a careful competition. He seemed to be popular as a talented sculptor in Italy, in spite of the difficulties faced, and began to gather orders from well-known people of that time. He even could have arranged a big personal exhibition of his works.

The famous busts of great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven and prominent Russian immigrant opera singer from La Scala Zigmund Zalessky erected in Perugia were produced by Zeynal Alizade.

To this day, the actual date on which the first professionally educated Azerbaijani sculptor Zeynal Alizade died remains unknown. He is believed to have died and have been buried in Perugia in the 50s of the last century.



Nariman Abdulrahmanly