Monument to Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga by Paco Durrio

Monument to Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga by Paco Durrio
Monument to Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga by Paco Durrio

This bronze monument located in Bilbao is the best work bequeathed to us by its author, the Spanish sculptor and potter Francisco Durrio (1868-1940). And beyond its artistic values ​​within thesymbolist and modernist stylethat characterized this artist, possibly the most peculiar thing about the work is the incidents that surrounded his creation and the subsequent exhibition of he.


Monument to Arriaga by Paco Durrio

In 1905, certain Bilbao cultural groups promoted the need to create a monument to the musicianJuan Crisóstomo Arriaga, whose centenary was to be celebrated the following year birth of him. So the Bilbao City Council decided to hold an ideas competition to erect such a monument.

Several artists of the time applied, however the job was awarded to Durrio, who had not submitted any ideas and who at that time was already living inParis. It should not be forgotten that Francisco Durrio was a close friend ofPaul Gauguin, and the French artist even left him in charge of his works when he went to Polynesia

In other words, after the commission, Durrio undertook to present an idea and then materialize it. The concept did arrive and then the execution deadlines were raised. But that was gradually delayed. Of course, the work was not finished in 1906,but not even in the years immediately after. It wasn't until 1933 that it was inaugurated, and all this was thanks to the fact that it was decided that the commission would finally be materialized by another sculptor, Valentín Dueñas, albeit following the design of Paco Durrio.

And the truth is that the work in bronze is really attractive. To begin with, because the tribute monument to a musician is proposed without the protagonist appearing. It is actually the figure of the classical museEuterpewith the symbolic lyre of her. Water flows from it and the woman looks at the heavens, all this to simulate that she is mourning the early death of Arriaga, who, it must be remembered, died of tuberculosis at the age of 19, a longer time that enough for him to achieve fame and be known as the Spanish Mozart.

The whole figure is symbolism pure and with extremely elegant lines. So when it was finally installed in a central Bilbao park, the citizens finally had their monument. However, a few years later, in the midst of the moralizing wave of Franco's dictatorship, it was decided that a naked woman in such a public location, more than a tribute to the musician, was an incitement to "bad thoughts". That is why she was removed and kept in the municipal warehouses, and was replaced by another figure in a similar attitude, but dressed.

Fortunately, when Democracy returned to Spain, the sculpture was returned to its original place, and the replica was installed elsewhere in the capital ofVizcaya.

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