Places of Interest nearby
Location address: Barcelona
Number of texts: 5
‘The Arc de Triomf is an archway structure. It was built for the 1888 Universal exhibition, as its main access gate by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas. The arch is built in reddish brickwork in the Moorish Revival style. The front frieze contains the stone sculpture ‘‘Barcelona rep les nacions’’ (Catalan for ‘‘Barcelona welcomes the nations’‘) by Josep Reynés. The opposite frieze contains a stone carving named ‘‘Recompense’‘, a work from the earliest period of Josep Llimona. The top of the arch is decorated with the Barcelona coat of arms as well as a representation of all 49 other Spanish provinces, work of Torquat Tassó and Antoni Vilanova. The arch is located between Passeig de Lluís Companys and Passeig de Sant Joan, at the end of a wide promenade connecting with the Park of the Ciutadella.’
Linked themes: Architecture
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be mounted or which bears commemorative inscriptions. The main structure is often decorated with carvings, sculpted reliefs and dedications. More elaborate triumphal arches may have multiple archways.
The Arc de Triomf (Catalan pronunciation: [ˈarɡ də tɾiˈomf]) is an arch in the manner of a memorial or triumphal arch in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). It was built as the main access gate for the 1888 Barcelona World Fair by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas.
Designed by architect Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas in a Neo-Mudéjar style, the Arc de Triomf was the monumental entrance to the grounds of the Exhibition. The Arc was built with the technique of visible red brick, a material used in other buildings for the Exhibition, but until then thereafter considered as a poor material for public buildings. Groups of sculptures are presented on the Arc’s four sides. On the front we see represented Barcelona’s reception of foreign nations in a frieze by the sculptor Josep Reynes. On the back, we see the awards ceremony by the famous sculptor Josep Llimona. On the sides, and following some of the trends of the Exhibition, we see an allegory of industry and commerce, work of the sculptor Antoni Vilanova, as well as a representation of art and science by the artist Torquat Tasso.
According to myth, Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, French engineer and architect known for his Parisian tower, proposed to the organizers of the Exhibition of Barcelona that he make a huge iron tower where today we see the Arc de Triomf. This myth also tells that this project was discarded for being too expensive and the organizers finally opted for a brick arc that was much cheaper. Yet the truth is that the first project for the Exhibition included an iron tower and that it was designed by a Frenchman, and it is also true that this tower was rejected, but that’s it. It was neither like the Eiffel Tower, nor was the engineer Eiffel himself, but instead was named J. Lapierre. In fact, Eiffel was at that time preparing his famous tower for the Great Exhibition of 1889 in Paris.
On May 20th, 1888, the Arc de Triomf was officially passed through by the Queen Regent Maria Cristina, accompanied by her son Alfonso XIII, then a two-year-old baby. The World Exhibition was opened until December 11 of that year.
Permanyer, Lluís "La Torre Eiffel nunca fue ofrecida a Barcelona" La Vanguardia, 01-06-2009. [in Spanish]