Spanish Sculptor Juan de Avalos, 94, Dies
Date: 9 Jul 2006 | | Views: 10543
MADRID, SPAIN. -
Juan de Avalos, Valle de los Caidos.
Spanish sculptor Juan de Avalos, 94, died in Madrid. He was a member of the prestigious Fine Arts Academy. Francisco Franco chose De Avalos to create colossal statues that were to adorn his vast mausoleum in the Valle de los Caidos, northeast of the capital, eve though being politically opposed to the dictator's extreme right-wing policies. Juan de Avalos was working on a monument to Spain's King Alfonso XIII at the time of his death, in Madrid.
Fernando Molina, cultural spokesman for De Avalos' native city of Merida, offered a tribute to the sculptor. He stated, "He was a beloved and hardworking man, always lively, jovial and with an open spirit.'
When asked about his feelings about the Valle de los Caidos memorial, Juan de Avalos once stated, "It is a complex matter, and a much-discussed one". When I was invited to participate in the competition to create the Valley, I was very much taken by the landscape where the cross was to be erected. I had to create figures that were in harmony with nature, with those strong, powerful rocks that jut up, but without losing... the notion of coming down from the Cross, with evangelists on the altars. I also had to take care with the language I used. What was needed was a popular language, something that everyone could understand, given that the Valley, which has such an unfortunate reputation, was built to bury the dead from both sides under the sign of the Cross. I was fascinated by this, and had many problems. I was denounced many times as I was not affiliated to the regime, because I was a Republican. All of that and the misinterpretation of the sentiment behind it caused many problems. Both the Republicans and the Nationalists murdered people. I think we should shut up about it, we should seal our lips and look ahead to the future.