Quadriga de l'Aurora

Monumental Waterfall (Parc de la Ciutadella)

Sculptor: Rossend Nobas
Design: Josep Fontseré
Materials: Cast iron originally gold

The group that crowns the waterfall is an allegory of Aurora with its attributes, truck and carrying the torch in his right hand. The iron sculpture was originally gilded with a layer of fine gold that has been lost over time and have not preserved posterior restorations.

In the failed 1876 contest performing sculpture Andreu Aleu was granted, but this eventually give up the custom of the City and was Rossend Nobas who carried out the project, although he had agreed with Fontseré around 1877, was not officially informed the commission until 1883. two years later he informed the mayor, citing aesthetic and compositional reasons, had made four horses instead of the two contained in the preparatory drawing, so he revised his sculpture and accepted the new design. This change has led over time to identify himself erroneously set as the carriage drawn by four horses-the quadriga- normally associated with the carriage of Helios or Apollo, while the Aurora is always shown only two horses, so in some texts this sculpture is identified with the god of Delphi. Casting iron from the original plaster Nobas was held in casting Alejandro Wohlguemuth in 1888, which calculated the final weight of the set at thirty tons, so Elijah Rogent, director of the works of the park since 1886 I had to reinforce the structure of the cascade to support the sculpture.

The presence of the Aurora group as the crowning of a set of sculptures that have in common the aquatic theme no longer strange, therefore the thematic difference as there is not any mythological figure link between the Aurora and Venus. But the issue of core set is the birth of the goddess, and this idea of ​​birth is the link to the sculpture of the Aurora, which in fact is the allegory of the beginning of a new day, new light carrying in his hand right. Given the political affiliation of Fontseré, Republican activist, it is not surprising that it was he himself who chose this topic because the aurora was a symbol of freedom and progress, and this symbolism case much more progressive ideology of Fontseré that not the birth of Venus or the other sculptural, more or less successful but no meaning for the citizen of the age groups. This figure brings the light of freedom is a symbol of the end of military domination of the city, while a figure that may go unnoticed with his name and classic shape, making it easy to be accepted without too much fuss about more conservative attitudes. No longer indicative of this double set of meanings, the documentation is preserved, this set is called Carrousel, emphasizing its resemblance to the Carrousel du Louvre, and hence, their affiliation with the good taste and the capital French- rather under the name Aurora, with evident the idea of ​​birth, clarity and new world references.

To present the political ideals of Fontseré just you have to remember that in his drawing of the first project for Ciutadella (3 October 1868) a monument celebrating the political change of the revolution of 1868; or, years later, Fontseré designed the sculpture of a naked athlete carrying a torch (again symbol of progress and freedom) to preside over the central supplier of Ciutadella, although at the time of its construction (1884-1885 ) had to change due to political pressures and, according to the sculptor Joan Roig y Soler, built the famous Lady of the umbrella.

The Chariot of Aurora, then, the whole cascade can take a double reading: on the one hand, we have an apolitical iconographic repertoire and unrepresentative of the reality of the city, focusing on water issues suitable for a source in a coastal city, while on the other the figure of the Aurora has a much stronger symbolism, celebrating the arrival of a new day in the place where the hated Bourbon citadel stood. But still, perhaps because from the beginning of the works he tried to hide its symbolism, and the sculpture or the whole cascade they were never a symbol of the city.

It seems logical to think that the idea of ​​crowning the whole with the Chariot of Aurora coming directly from Fontseré, as among the people who worked at the park was the only member of the Republican party, and therefore the only thing that could be interested in designing such a figure. In this context, it is noteworthy that the iconography of the female figure carrying a torch was a very lively Republican symbol throughout the nineteenth century, especially in France. Among the different uses of this iconography it noted for its popularity sculpture Bartholdi, Liberty Enlightening the World, begun in 1876 but conceived and promoted a decade ago by members of the French Republican Party and currently presides entrance to the bay New York.

  • S. Pere, S. Caterina i La Ribera
  • Parc de La Ciutadella


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