Secrets of Madrid: the Fallen Angel statue
All cities have their secrets and mysteries and consequently, Madrid is no exception.
What possibly many of the thousands of visitors who visit us annually ignore is that in the heart of the most visited of the city, that monumental Retiro Park that captivates due to its extraordinary beauty, there is a monument dedicated to the always controversial figure of the Devil: the statue of the Fallen Angel.
Anyone who has read 'Paradise Lost' by Milton will notice that we are talking about Lucifer, traditionally associated with the planet Venus or the morning star, because of its brightness - hence its name literally means' Bearer of Light '- who sinned in pride, leading a rebellion of angels against God, who were defeated and punished to inhabit the most sordid and inhospitable places on our planet, including the interior of the earth.
It could be added that the circumstances that promoted this figure to remain in some way associated with the life of Madrid and its inhabitants, is utterly bizarre, if we take into account that Spain has always been considered an eminently Marian country - due to its adherence to the figure of the Virgin Mary- where the Church has constituted one of the most influential factual powers in its political and social march.
But it must also be taken into account that this figure made its appearance in an eminently romantic century such as the 19th century - previously, Goethe had shocked the world with his sovereign story about 'Faust' - when Spain was witnessing the continuous disputes between liberals and conservatives, whose most important politicians and in fact, some of them, both from one faction or another, died in an attack - their remains rest a short distance away, in addition, next to the Atocha basilica, in the so-called Pantheon of Illustrious Men - They fought in the General Courts to enforce their rights.
It could also be argued that they were the immediate heirs of those others who carried the black legend of that Spain of Abel and Cain, described at the beginning of the century by that authentic chronicler of universal painting, who was indisputably Francisco de Goya y Lucientes.
In this environment, then, was Spain and by default, Madrid, when the versatile sculptor, Ricardo Bellver, at that time a student of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, made a plaster cast, made during his stay in Rome. , in 1876, which he sent to Madrid, where, unexpectedly with the approval of critics and teachers, undoubtedly admired by the great quality of the work, it was reproduced in bronze and sent to Paris, where it won the First Prize of the Universal exposition.
It was at the initiative of the Duke of Fernán Núñez, that this statue, which hurt the sensibilities of the most religious citizens of the city, occupied the place it occupies today, because after numerous controversies, he knew how to convince the most conservative that it was appropriate their presence and their placement in the designated place, as an educating metaphor of pride.
What he did not say and nobody seemed to notice then, is that the place chosen to place the statue of the Fallen Angel, is located, curiously, at 666 meters above sea level, a figure that coincides with the number of the Beast of the Apocalypse described by Saint John.
And it is also true that despite its great artistic beauty, its vision imposes, especially when it is contemplated at sunset, silhouetted against a sun that begins its slow agony, on the way to the West, giving place to the always archetypal manipulations. of the night.
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