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Monument to Joan Maragall

Lluís Domènech i Montaner explored his love of ornamentation and embellishment in other works around the city, not only in his buildings. His monument to the poet Joan Maragall (Barcelona, 1860-1911) in the Parc de la Ciutadella is a collaboration between the famous architect and his loyal associate, the sculptor, Eusebi Arnau. Together they designed this combination of realism and art nouveau, or modernisme, which was dedicated in 1913. Arnau's marble bust of the poet is a superb example of synthetic realism. The stone base, by Domènech i Montaner, consists of a tall fluted Ionic column shaft surmounted by an Ionic capital.

There are two particularly eye-catching things about the monument: the way the bust of Joan Maragall seems to melt into the top of the capital, and the lavish decorations around the column. At the base of the capital, we can see the characteristic decorative elements of the modernista movement inspired by nature, as well as the poet's name in relief. However, the most outstanding elements of all are the two reliefs around the base of the column depicting a group of women joining hands and dancing the traditional Catalan circle dance, the sardana. Their nimble footwork, billowing skirts and graceful movements allude to Maragall's most famous verses: "La sardana és la dansa més bella de totes les que es fan i es desfan" (The sardana is the most beautiful of all the dances that are done and undone).

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