The Sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – East
Updated in September 2020
With this article The Sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – East we complete our walk through the public art in this important artery of the city of Lisbon.
In The Sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – West, we’ve shared with you six artworks on the west side of the avenue. From Marquês de Pombal Square to Restauradores we saw many diverse pieces, such as artworks of the 1940s ordered by official institutions and the Allegory to the Douro River from the 18th century, among others.
This time we bring you eight public art pieces produced between the 18th and the 21st century.
We once again suggest you to walk downwards, but if you want to see everything on the same day, you can always start from the end of this route.
Eight Sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – East
We start our walk once again in Marquês de Pombal Square, this time on the left side.
We’ll firstly find the two remaining figure sculptures from the set of four that we’ve mentioned in our last article. Ordered by the City Council of Lisbon, they pay tribute to writers of the 19th century and are located in the crossing of the avenue with Rua Alexandre Herculano.
The Figure Sculpture of Almeida Garrett
The first of these statues represents the figure of the illustrious writer, poet and playwright, founder of Queen Maria II National Theatre and important personality of the Romanticism in Portugal, Almeida Garrett (1799-1854).
This big marble sculpture was produced between 1945 and 1946 and inaugurated in 1950. Its author was Salvador Barata Feyo (1899-1990), the same modernist artist as the one of the sculpture honouring the writer Alexandre Herculano that we’ve seen on the west side.
The Figure Sculpture of Oliveira Martins
By crossing Rua Alexandre Herculano we find the last of the four statues, paying tribute to Oliveira Martins (1845-1894) – an outstanding personality of the Portuguese historiography, writer, politician, social critic, anthropologist… a multifaceted intellectual, as it was usual in that century.
This time the sculptor is Leopoldo de Almeida (1898-1975), the same artist of the statue of Feliciano Castilho that we’ve seen on the other side of the avenue, which was produced in 1948, whereas this one is from 1952.
The Sculpture by Rui Chafes
From the modernist sculpture of the 1940s, we travel through time by approaching the piece “I am like you” of the awarded contemporary sculptor Rui Chafes (1966).
This is an iron sculpture with approximately 6 meters of height, gifted to the city in 2008 by a private entity, the Foundation PLMJ.
According to the artist himself, this public sculpture addresses the spiritual dimension of humanity, thus having the purpose of elevating the human being. With this piece, the artist brings us a smoke pillar that evokes easiness and thus, promotes a space of peace and silence in the heart of one of the busiest arteries of the capital.
The Bust of Fryderyk Chopin
In 1872 the Polish sculptor Bolesław Syrewicz (1835-1899) sculpted in marble for the Warsaw Music Society, the bust of Frédéric Chopin (1810-1849), an original piece that today can be seen in the National Museum in Warsaw.
In the end of the 20th century, the Polish government decided to reproduce this work in bronze and gift it to several cities. Paris was one of them. Since 1999, the 150th anniversary of the death of the composer that the Luxembourg Gardens displays one of these busts.
Lisbon was also gifted one, having it been inaugurated in 2012 with the presence of the Polish president at the time, Brosniraw Konorowski, and of the president of the City Council of Lisbon at the time, António Costa.
The Bust of General Bernardo O’Hggins
The most recent piece of The Sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – East is located in front of nº138 of this artery and it’s an offer from the Republic of Chile to the city of Lisbon.
It is a bronze bust of General Bernardo O’Higgins (1748-1842), one of the main responsible for the liberation movement in Chile.
It was inaugurated on September 18, 2020, by its ambassador in Portugal, Pedro Pablo Diaz and by the President of the City Council, Fernando Medina, on the day which the country’s independence is celebrated.
This action aims to strengthen relations between Chile and Lisbon, to declare values of freedom and democracy and, at the same time, to mark the 500 years of the journey of the Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães.
The Figure Sculpture of Simon Bolivar
Before we cross Rua das Pretas we can find a 5.5 metre high figure sculpture in bronze, that despite being so big, can go unnoticed.
This statue is the representation of Simon Bolívar (1783-1830), a Venezuelan serviceman and political leader, the hero responsible for the south american independence.
This tribute to this important personality of the history of Latin America in this avenue owes to the initiative of the Portuguese community in Venezuela who gifted it to the City Council of Lisbon in 1978. It was produced by the Venezuelan sculptor Arturo Rus Aguilero (c.1923-?) and by the architect of the City Council of Lisbon, Eduardo Martins Bairrada (1930-1987).
Allegory to the Tagus River
After crossing Rua das Pretas we reach once again the section of the avenue which used to be the Public Promenade, a fenced garden that was only frequented by the elites of Lisbon and that was closed in 1879 with the opening of the Liberdade Avenue.
Here we’ll find once again, symmetrically to the west side, a serpentine pond with a waterfall, representing this time the Tagus River.
This work, by the same artist Alexandre Gomes (1772-1775), is located here since 1836 and was too initially projected to integrate a monumental fountain that was never concretised.
The Sculptural Set of Tribute to Pinheiro Chagas
We’ve reached the last sculpture of our walk through the sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – East.
This is a tribute to the writer, journalist and playwright Manuel Pinheiro Chagas (1842-1895) and it results from a petition started by the newspaper MALA DA EUROPA em Portugal e no Brasil, in the bi-weekly release that existed between 1894 and 1898.
The monument was inaugurated in 1908 and it was produced by Costa Motta – tio (1862-1930). The same author of emblematic pieces such as the tomb of the poet Luís Vaz de Camões and of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama (1894) that can be see in the Monastery of Jerónimos; the monument of Sousa Martins (1904), whose mould is in the House of Plasters, in Campo dos Mártires da Pátria Garden; or the Statue of Maria da Fonte (1920) in Teófilo Braga Garden in Campo de Ourique neighbourhood.
This artwork consists of a sculptural set constituted by a bronze bust standing on a stone pedestal and by a bronze statue. While the bust represents the writer, the statue represents Morgadinha de Valflor, main character of one of the writer’s plays. Moreover, around the pedestal hangs a bronze flower crown.
The pavement surrounding it works as a way of emphasising the message and as a legend of the set.
Before finishing this article of the sculptures of Liberdade Avenue – East, we want to call your attention to the Curious Secrets in the Portuguese Pavement in Lisbon that can be seen in this pavement all the way to Restauradores Square.
If you look closely you’ll find a six-pointed star, a watch, and many others! Snap a photo and share it with us!
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