● About the ART

Fallen Astronaut is a 3.5-inch (8.9 cm) aluminum sculpture created by Belgian artist Paul Van Hoeydonck. It is a stylized figure of an astronaut in a spacesuit, intended to commemorate the astronauts and cosmonauts who have died in the advancement of space exploration. It was commissioned and placed on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 15 at Hadley Rille on August 2, 1971, UTC, next to a plaque listing 14 names of those who had died up to that time. The statue lies on the ground among several footprints. The crew kept the memorial's existence a secret until after completing their mission. After public disclosure, the National Air and Space Museum requested a replica of the statue. 

Van Hoeydonck gives a different account of the agreement: the statue was supposed to represent all mankind, not only fallen astronauts or cosmonauts. He claimed he did not know the statue would be used as a memorial for the fallen space-goers, and the name given to the work was neither chosen nor approved by him; he had intended the figure to be left standing upright. He also denies it was agreed he would remain anonymous.

53 years later, Paul van Hoeydonck is now showing the statue as it was supposed to be going to the moon and this 3D representation will travel to the moon inside the Mare Crisium exhibition.


● about the ARTIST

Paul Van Hoeydonck is a Belgian artist best known for his sculpture "Fallen Astronaut," also known as the "Man on the Moon" statue. Created in 1971, "Fallen Astronaut" is a small aluminum sculpture depicting an astronaut in a spacesuit, lying prostrate with an outstretched arm. This artwork was secretly placed on the Moon by the crew of Apollo 15 as a memorial to deceased astronauts and cosmonauts. Van Hoeydonck's statue thus became the first and only artwork on the lunar surface. Despite some controversy surrounding its placement, the sculpture remains a poignant symbol of humanity's exploration of space. Throughout his career, Van Hoeydonck has explored themes of space, technology, and humanity's relationship with the cosmos through various mediums, leaving an indelible mark on the intersection of art and space exploration.