Located in Plaça Goya, in Barcelona’s Sant Antoni neighbourhood, Monument a Francesc Layret pays homage to a left-wing republican lawyer who was assassinated in 1920.
The monument’s centrepiece is a bronze statue of a young woman holding a flaming torch which symbolizes the struggle for liberty. Behind her, at a slightly lower level, three stone figures represent farmers, industrial workers, and a young mother holding her child.
The monument, which is reminiscent of the grand Soviet-era monuments seen in places like Szoborpark (Budapest), is thematically very similar to the Monument to Doctor Bartomeu Robert which originally stood nearby in Plaça de la Universitat.
Who was Francesc Layret?
Francsc Layret i Boix was born in Barcelona in 1880 and studied law at the University of Barcelona. In 1903 he joined the Unió Republicana, a left wing political party that opposed the monarchy, and was elected councillor of Barcelona city council.
In 1917 he was one of the founding members of the Partit Republicà Català which later fused with other Catalan republican parties to become Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya; a left-wing, pro-independence party that is currently part of the coalition governments of both Catalonia and Spain.
Layret set up his own law firm which frequently worked for the CNT; an anarcho-syndicalistic trade union that played an important role in the Spanish Civil War. His most famous case was when he defended the railway workers who had instigated the general strike of 1917.
On the 30th of November 1920, Layret was assassinated by a group of gunmen as he left his home at number 26 Carrer Balmes. His funeral was accompanied by a general strike and political demonstration which was brutally quashed by the army and Guardia Civil. [source]
Monument to Francesc Layret
Monument a Francesc Layret comprises of four figures which represent Layret’s dedication to the republic and the defense of workers rights and the poor.
The bronze statue of a woman holding a torch in her left hand represents the struggle for liberty and the republic. The two male figures represent factory workers and farmers while the fourth figure, a young woman holding a baby, represents the city’s poor and vulnerable.
The monument was created by Frederic Marès and inaugurated in 1936 by the then president of the Generalitat (Catalan government) Lluís Companys, who had gone to school with Layret.
At the end of the Spanish Civil War, 1936 – 1939, the monument was dismantled and was put into storage, along with other statues of figures related to Catalan nationalism and the Spanish Republic. It was reinstated in its original location in Plaça Goya in 1977.
About the artist
Frederic Marès was born in Portbou in 1893 and studied art at the prestigious La Llotja art school in Barcelona.
After completing his studies, Marès worked with Eusebia Arnau and travelled to Paris, Rome and Florence.
His sculptures combine Modernista and Gothic styles and his best-known work is Alegoría de Barcelona which is located in Plaça de Catalunya.
In addition to being a sculptor, Marès was a keen collector who collected art from across Spain, most of which is on display in the Frederic Marès museum.
The monument is located in Plaça Goya, a small triangular plaza on Ronda de Sant Antoni, approximately 200m from Plaça de la Universitat.
How to get there
The nearest metro stop is Universitat which is on the red and purple lines (L1 and L2).
Bus routes 55, 120, D50 and H16 also stop nearby.
Other attractions nearby
Mercat de Sant Antoni (food market and museum)
MACBA Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona
La Boqueria Market
Gran Teatre del Liceu Opera House