Dànae La Nit (The Night)
Monumental Waterfall (Parc de la Ciutadella)
Sculptor: Joan Flotats, signed
Design: Josep Fontseré
Materials: White marble
Dánae was the daughter of the king of Argos Acrisio, and mother of Perseus. The oracle had predicted the king of Argos that the son of his daughter would kill him, which is why the king decided to close Dánae in a subterranean chamber of bronze so that she'd never know no man. But Jupiter, bewitched by the beauty of the young woman, became a golden rain and, under this form, slipped into the prison and fathered a son to Dánae, Perseus, the argívic hero.
The theme of Dánae, together with that of Venus, has been since the Renaissance one of the thematic resources to represent the nude female body. The most common iconography of this princess is centered just in the moment before her encounter with God: naked on her rich bed, with her old nurse who separates the curtains from the bed to let the lover in, only intuited by a slight golden glow. An example of this iconography can be found in the paintings that Tiziano or Rembrandt dedicated to this character. The sculpture that Juan Flotats made for the whole cascade seems to find the origin in this iconography, since it depicts her naked and lying down as if in bed, with the appearance of looking up at someone outside of the set, and accompanied by only a putti, a figure that Titian had already introduced to make pendant with the old wet nurse.
In none of the contracts of the waterfall that have been preserved are the sculptures of Danae or Leda, and everything suggests that Juan Flotats was hired to make a group of decorative putti, and without knowing the reason, finally add this work . Their presence apparently has nothing to do with the birth of Venus, but there is a nexus of union: the idea of fertility - the future birth of Perseu- and the aquatic theme, since Dánae met Zeus in the form of a rain. These two themes will also be repeated in the couple of this sculpture: Leda, who met Zeus while bathing in a fountain and who fathered the Dioscuri.
The presence of these two sculptures center their meaning on fertility and the future generation of classic heroes, so it seems that the themes of fertility and birth are the protagonists in the whole, taking into account especially the two main sets , which are the birth of Venus and the Quadriga of the Aurora.
S. Pere, S. Caterina i La Ribera
- Parc de La Ciutadella
L1 ARC DE TRIOMF