Today was a holiday in Madrid, a nice break in the middle of the week. A sunny but cold day, perfect for a good walk at the Retiro Park, before lunch, “to open the appetite”, like my father used to say. In the South side there’s a fountain that I like a lot, not so big, but quite interesting because on top of the fountain there’s the statue of the Fallen Angel (Angel Caido).
This statue was first created in plaster by Ricardo Bellver in 1877 during his retirement in Rome. Bellver was inspired by the Fallen Angel Satan in the poem called the Lost Paradise by the English poet John Milton. With this sculpture of Lucifer he won the first prize on the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Madrid. In 1878 it was nominated for the Paris World’s Fair, but they only accepted marble or bronze statues. For this occasion a bronze version was made and the plaster statue was destroyed.
When the statue returned to Spain, it was displayed at the Museo de la Trinidad (now part of the Museo del Prado). Later the masterpiece was given to the City of Madrid and it was moved to its current location in the Retiro Park It was placed on a special designed octagonal pedestal with figures of devils on each side grabbing fish, lizards and snakes. The construction was placed in a large fountain where all the devils are gushing water. The fountain was inaugurated in 1885.
At that time the sculpture and the fountain received al lot of criticism by the people, being maybe the World’s only statue of Satan, but at the same time it also gained a lot of admiration by critics. The dramatic figure was one of its kind with its unique expression. Salient detail is that the statue stands 666 meters above sea level, which is the Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelation of the New Testament.
You can find the Fountain of the Fallen Angel in the south of the Retiro Park, on a roundabout where Paseo Fernan Nunez, Paseo Republica de Cuba and Paseo Uruguay meet. Take your time and really admire this beautiful work of art.