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Julio Antonio and Monumental Sculpture

Julio Antonio’s monumental work began in 1910 with a plan for a monument entitled Lizard for the city of Córdoba, and was completed in 1919, the year of his death, with the plan for a monument to Enric Granados. During this decade his creative ability was focused on recognising various personalities, but also touched on more sublime concepts such as work, poetry, or spirituality.

Some of these works resulted from commissions and others were on his own initiative. Predominant in all of them, however, was the search for the genuine identity of the subject, expressed through formal calm.

Spiritual Beacon, 1912

The plan for the Spiritual Beacon was formed in Valencia. The piece, some sixty metres high, was to be sited on the Cerro de los Ángeles, considered the geographical centre of the Iberian peninsula.

The project was complex: four friezes on the base, facing the four cardinal points of the compass. The frieze on the north side represented the land, the sower, effort; the one on the south side men of the whole peninsula, including Portugal (farmers, fishermen and miners); those to the east and west portrayed work in the factory and workshop, intellectual work, etc.

In the end the monument was commissioned to Aniceto Marinas.

Plan for a Monument to Wagner, 1912

The Wagner society in Madrid commissioned him to create a monument to Richard Wagner, to be sited close to the Moncloa palace.

Julio Antonio made seven sketches of the plan for the monument, the musician’s face, a rough model and the final preliminary model in bronze. He then started work on the final model, eight metres high and made of clay.

The outbreak of the Great War (1914-1918) led to internal conflict in the Wagner society and put an end to any chance of the project being completed.

Only the head remains of this monumental sculpture. In 1969 the sculptor Bruno Gallart made a reproduction, which is now sited in the gardens of the Camp de Mart in Tarragona.

Monument to Eduard Saavedra i Moragas, 1913

In 1912 the Hispano-Moroccan trade centre commissioned the building of a monument in Tarragona, dedicated to the engineer and humanist Eduard Saavedra.

Julio Antonio made five preliminary models for this monument, three of which are more ambitious than the final work. The monument is sited in the Parc de Saavedra in Tarragona, and consists of a pyramid-shaped stone base and the bust of the subject.

Monument to America, 1916

Julio Antonio shared this project with the sculptor Sebastián Miranda. The idea came from a society of Asturian ex-colonists headed by the Marchioness d’Argüelles, and it was to be sited in Oviedo.

The monument was conceived as a complex, grandiose work forming a single project, in which the sculptures were to be by Julio Antonio and the reliefs by Sebastián Miranda.

Monument to Francisco de Goya, 1916

In 1915 Ignacio de Zuloaga bought from the Lucientes family the house in Fuentetodos where Francisco de Goya was born. He immediately started collecting funds to restore it, as well as setting up a museum and building a monument to the Aragonese painter.

The Goya museum was opened on 8th October 1917 in the painter’s house, and on the 19th October 1920 the monument by Julio Antonio in the church square of Fuendetodos was inaugurated.

Monument to Ruperto Chapí, 1917

On 4th April 1917 Julio Antonio signed a contract with the Spanish authors’ society to build a monument to the composer Ruperto Chapí.

This monument is the only one which was built with an architectural setting planned by the sculptor and involved the acceptance by critics of a new monumental concept and the final recognition of new values in sculpture.

Monument to Enric Granados, 1918-1919

Julio Antonio began this project in 1918 without any specific commission, simply as a result of the consternation which the composer’s death caused him. His ship was torpedoed by a German submarine in the English Channel while he was returning from the first showing of the stage version of Goyescas (1916) at the New York Metropolitan Opera. The sculptor’s death in 1919 left the project unfinished.