Public Art: Cervantes Monument (Monumento a
Sculptors : © Lorenzo Coullaut-Valera (1876—1932) and
Federico Coullaut-Valera Mendigutia (1912–1989)
Architects : Rafael Martínez Zapatero and Pedro
Description : The enormous stone monument to
famed Spanish novelist, poet and playwright Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra was created by scuptor Lorenzo Coullaut
Valera. The monument features Cervantes seated on a pedestal overlooking two bronze statues of Don
Quixote (on his horse "Rocinante") and Sancho Panza (on his mule "Rucio") which are situated at the base of
the monument. On either side of Cervantes, perched on their own pedestals, are the two "true loves" of ficticious
character Don Quixote. One the simple peasant girl Aldonza Lorenzo and the other the beautiful imaginary
Dulcinea del Toboso he invisages Aldonza to be.
On the other side of the monument is a statue of Isabella of Portugal (24th October 1503 – 1st May
1539), the only wife of Charles V. She pretty much ruled Spain while her hubby was away for long periods of time
fighting battles.Despite the intitial marriage being a political union the two fell madly in love. Isabella died
giving birth to her seventh child. When Charles returned home to the sad news he was devastated. He never
remarried, and as a sign of respect wore black for the rest of his life.
Lorenzo Coullaut-Valera's son Federico, completed the memorial and adding the figures of Dulcinea
andAldonza Lorenzo, then later the Rinconetey groups Cortadillo and The Gitanilla (1960).
Date Unveiled : The monument to Miguel De Cervantes
was eventually unveiled on the 13th of October, 1929 despite it not being completed. It would take several years
before the sculptor's son, Federico finally added the finishing touches to the monument (between
Location : The Cervantes Monument can be found
dominating the Plaza de España in Madrid, Spain.
Background to the Cervantes Monument : In 1915 a
national competition was held for designs for a memorial to Cervantes to be erected in the newly constructed Plaza
of Spain.The winning submissission was by by architects Rafael Martínez Zapatero and sculptor Lorenzo Coullaut
Valera . In 1920 a fund raising commttee was set up to fund the project. Due to delays work did not begin until
1925. The incomplete monument was unveiled in 1929 but would take another 30 years for it to be finally finished by
the sculptor's son Frederico.
Trivia : Miguel de Cervantes died on the same day as
Shakespeare, the 23rd April 1616.
Originally a wing victory crowned the top of the monument but was later removed and replaced with a
globe being held up figures representing the 5 continents, an allegory for the spread of Spanish
throughout the world.