Als Voluntaris Catalans (To the Catalan Volunteers)

Parc de la Ciutadella

Sculptor: Josep Clara, signed
Materials: Bronze on stone pedestal
Inauguration: July 14, 1936

During the First World War, about 14,000 Catalans fought next to France. After the end of the war, the idea arose to raise a monument to those volunteers and, even, it was talked about putting it in the Plaza Catalunya, the central square of the city, once it was definitively urbanized. Those responsible to make the monument commissioned Josep Clarà, who resided in France. In 1922 he was already ready, but the following year came the dictatorship that wasn’t too enthusiastic of Catalanism, and the initiative was suspended. Meanwhile, Clarà won the grand prize of the Exhibition of Decorative Arts in Paris 1925 with his sculpture, showing a naked man with raised arms and a laurel branch in one hand, as a symbol of freedom. In 1930 the sculptor send the plaster model of the sculpture in the City of Barcelona, ​​and offered to make a bronze copy for 60,000 pesetas. Three years later, the City Council agreed that it should be done, but the statue was not inaugurated until July 14, 1936, the national day of France, with a very simple inscription: "To the Catalan volunteers killed during the Great War 1914-1918" . The municipal band interpreted the Marseillaise, the harvesters and the Irrigation Hymn. In the postwar period, the plate disappeared. In May 1952, some Falangists who camped in the Parc de la Ciutadella on the occasion of the Eucharistic Congress of Barcelona covered the monument with a kind of giant box in order not to offend the boys with the naked figure. Six months later, once again the sculpture was uncovered, someone squeezed his arms. Clarà protested to Mayor Simarro - at that time he was sculpting the monument to Los Caídos - and in February 1954 it had been restored, but they took advantage to cover the disturbing nudity with a vine leaf. On May 8, 1986, democracy was already returned, the plaque was placed, which dedicated the sculpture to the Catalans who had died in defense of freedom in the two world wars, on the initiative of the Amicale December Anciens Guerrilleros Espagnols in France, and in the presence of the president of the Generalitat, Josep Tarradellas.

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


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