Who isn’t familiar with the story of David and Goliath? The epic tale of a young shepherd boy who, armed with only a slingshot and a few stones, killed a fearsome giant and went on to become king of Israel. Over the centuries the story has become a synonym for the struggle between good and evil and the plight of the underdog.
There are two statues of David and Goliath in Barcelona. Best known is the stainless steel sculpture by Antoni Llena i Font which dominates the Parc de Les Cascades and was inaugurated in 1992, shortly after Barcelona hosted the Olympic Games.
The other lesser-known monument is a memorial to the International Brigades by Roy Schifrin unveiled 4 years earlier in 1988.
David and Goliath by Antoni Llena i Font
Catalan artist Antoni Llena’s unusual interpretation symbolises the rebirth of the old Somorrostro neighbourhood. The Somorrostro was a shanty town which occupied the area which is now the Vila Olímpica from 1882 until it was torn down just prior to Franco’s visit to Barcelona in 1966.
The 18m tall sculpture consists of a large rectangular mask supported by 3 twisting stainless steel legs and reminds me of Salvador Dalí’s painting The Temptation of St Anthony. The statue’s ghostly white face represents sheets drying in the wind and is intended to evoke memories of the long demolished neighbourhood.
Location & How to get there:
Antoni Llena’s David and Goliath sculpture is located in the Parc de Les Cascades park in the Vila Olímpica del Poblenou neighbourhood. The nearest metro stop is Ciutadella Vila Olimpica on the yellow line (L4).
David and Goliath by Roy Schifrin
Barcelona’s other statue of David and Goliath pays homage to the International Brigades. An estimated 35,000 foreign volunteers enlisted to fight against Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
The imposing 29m monument depicts David standing over Goliath’s severed head and was installed in 1988, the 50th anniversary of the withdrawal of the International Brigades from Spain.
An inscription dedicated to the foreign volunteers reads:
“When the years pass and the war-wounds are cured. When the cries of bloody and painful days go up in smoke in a present of peace liberty and well-being, when the grudges diminish and pride in the homeland is felt equally by all Spaniards, speak to your children of the men of the international brigades.
Tell them how, crossing seas and mountains, they came to our country. Crusaders for liberty, they left everything and came to us saying “Here we are, your cause, Spain’s cause is our own cause, it’s the cause of all humanity advanced and progressive”.
Today they depart. Many thousands remain, their shroud the earth of Spain, you are history, you are legend, you are the heroic example of solidarity, universality and democracy. We won’t forget you and when the oblivion of peace blooms, come back!”
Location & How to get there:
The Monument to the International Brigades is located at Carrer de les Ciencies 57 in the Horta – Guinardo district of Barcelona. The nearest metro station is El Carmel on the blue line (L5). There are signs indicating the way from the metro station, the first one is near the exit from the lift.