Madrid Statues

  • Estatuas de Madrid
    el_angel_caido.jpg

These are the most curious urban statues in Madrid, those that surprise us as we wander around the city. They are spread around the city. If you come across them –some are not easy to see–, you are bound to take a photo next to them or with them in the background.

The Sweeper in Plaza de Benavente

Between Puerta del Sol and Calle de Atocha, in Plaza de Jacinto Benavente, there is a statue that could be real, as it represents a sweeper with his brush in hand, hard at work.

On realising that it is a bronze figure, visitors immediately take out their mobile phone to immortalize it. “Madrid Sweeper 1960” is probably one of the most photographed statues in  Madrid.

It is a very realist work by Félix Hernando García, which pays tribute to essential workers in a large city: the road sweepers. The statue was erected in 2001.

Barrendero madrileño 1960

 “Air Crash”

On the Calle Mayor, close to Puerta del Sol, if you look up to the sky, you will see an impressive image high up, which the people from Madrid call the “fallen angel”.

In reality, it is a bronze statue of more than 300 kilos by the artist, Miguel Ángel Ruiz Beato.

Since 2005, it has been perched on the rooftop of a five-storey building at Number 3, Calle de los Milaneses.

The true name of this sculpture is “Air Crash” and it represents a figure of an angel with its head crushed against the building, feet in the air and wings spread out.

Accidente aéreo

Day and Night

At the entrance to the Madrid-Atocha train station,  we come across two giant baby heads. They appear to be identical, but they are not.

One represents “Day” and the other, “Night”. They are the work of the artist from Tomelloso, Antonio López García, who was inspired to make them by his granddaughter when she was six months old.  

In one of them, the baby’s eyes are closed and they are open in the other. They are two hyper-realistic pieces commissioned by the Ministry for Public Works in 2002.

El Día y la Noche

Julia, the first female university student

In Calle del Pez, on the corner of San Bernardo, we come across “Julia”, the statue of the first female university student in Madrid who went to study at the Central de San Bernando dressed up as a man. Or at least, that is what the legend says.  

We see her leaning against one of the side walls of Bauer Palace. There are some people who assure that it represents Concepción Arenal, writer and lawyer, who dressed up as a man in 1840 in order to study Law. The artist responsible for the statue, Antonio Santín, christened it “Behind Julia”.

Tras Julia

Two children reading in front of the National Library

On Paseo de Recoletos, just in front of the National Library, we come across a statue of two children reading, an image that is moving in such digital times as ours.  

The monument, which is barely one metre high, was inaugurated on 23 April 1984. This work by Manuel García Buciños bears the inscription: “Spanish booksellers, the book and its creators”.

Al Libro

“The Hand” by Botero

This is one of the works by Fernando Botero which was installed permanently in Madrid, after being on display as a travelling exhibition.  It weighs more than 500 kg and was bought by Telefónica, which lent it to Madrid for its permanent exhibition.

It can be seen on the Paseo de la Castellana, close to the National Museum of Natural Sciences.  

mano_de_botero.jpg

“The Beached Mermaid”, by Chillida

None other than Eduardo Chillida is responsible for one of the monumental works that is part of the Public Art Museum on the Paseo de la Castellana, just below the crossing that links Calle Eduardo Dato and Calle Juan Bravo.

It is “The Beached Mermaid”. In this open-air museum, there are also works by Eusebio Sempere, Andreu Alfaro, Gustavo Torner, Gerardo Rueda, Palazuelo, Miró and Pablo Serrano, among others.

La Sirena Varada

The Rocker Grandmother

She is the rocker grandmother of Vallecas, one of the strangest sculptures in Madrid. It can be visited in the Boulevard of this Madrid neighbourhood, in Calle de la Peña Gorbea.

Ángeles Rodríguez Hidalgo (1900-1993) was the real name of this energetic woman who was an AC/DC fan and wrote music columns and reports for the Heavy Rock magazine.

The figure is the work of Carmen Jorba and was made in 1994 with the money raised in a concert in which Esturión, Ñu, Asfalto, Sobredosis and other historic national heavy metal bands performed.

La Abuela roquera

The Fallen Angel

This is one of the few statues in the world that represents Lucifer during his expulsion from Heaven. It can be found in the Retiro Park and is the work of the sculptor, Ricardo Bellver, who took it to the Universal Exhibition in Paris. Finally, Madrid City Council bought it and installed it in the Retiro in 1885.

Some say that this work has evil properties, because it is at a height of 666 metres and its pedestal has eight sides (the number attributed to chaos). However, the Demon appears with  a considerable human appearance.

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The Curious Neighbour

The bronze statue of the Curious Neighbour stands in the heart of Madrid, at the junction between Calle Mayor and Calle de la Almudena.

It is a male figure looking over a railing from which the archaeological remains of the Church of Santa María de la Almudena can be seen.

It is the work of Salvador Fernández Oliva and was made in 1999 so that pedestrians can come and contemplate the remains of our history. Bet you don’t know which is the most worn part?

El Vecino curioso

Madrid Lamplighter

The sculpture that remembers the former lamplighters in the city of Madrid  was  commissioned by the City Council to the sculptor, Félix Hernando (who was also responsible for the statues of the Madrid Sweeper, the  Reader in Calle San Justo  and the Man seated in the Plaza de la Paja), made in 1999, and originally installed in Plaza del Carmen.

The Lamplighter was later moved to Calle de Concepción Jerónima, and relocated in front of the unique rationalist building of the former Madrid Municipal Press.

Madrid public lighting began in the second half of the 18th century as the lamps used oil until well into the 19th century. Gas was introduced in 1846 with the creation of the Madrid Company for Gas Lighting. The first gas lamps were installed in 1847 and were not replaced with electric lighting until the 1940s. Electricity brought an end to the profession that is commemorated in the sculpture.    

Farolero madrileño (© Antonello Dellanotte)

Monument to the Heroes of Baler

The Plaza del Conde del Valle de Súchil, at the entrance to the Almirante Pascual Cervera gardens, in Chamberí, is home to this large sculpture which pays tribute to the Spanish detachment, known as “the last of the Philippines”, which was besieged by Philippine troops in a church in the village of Baler, on the island of Luzon, between July 1898 and June 1899.

Work of the sculptor, Salvador Amaya, the bronze piece with a height of three metres, represents Lieutenant Saturnino Martín Castillo. The pedestal on which it stands bears an inscription with the date of the event, the names of the fifty-four soldiers who resisted the siege and some words in their memory.  

Monumento Heróes de Baler

 


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