Liberty Enlightening the World, better known as the Statue of Liberty, is one of the most famous monuments in the world. It is located on the island of Liberty, in the city of New York (United States) and was inaugurated on October 28, 1886. It is 93 meters high from the ground to the torch and weighs 156 tons without counting the pedestal. Well, although most people don’t know it, Madrid has its own Statue of Liberty, and it can be visited in the Pantheon of Illustrious Men.
It was at the end of the 19th century that the Pantheon of Illustrious Men began, inspired by Pisa Cemetery and Giotto’s Campanile in Florence. Between 1901 and 1906, the remains of several renowned politicians such as José Canalejas Méndez, Eduardo Dato or Antonio Cánovas del Castillo were buried.
In 1912, a mausoleum was moved to the courtyard of the Pantheon of Illustrious Men, baptized with the name Monument to Freedom, and which housed the sArchophages of Juan Álvarez Mendizábal, Agustín de Argüelles Álvarez and Ramón María Calatrava.
In 1853 a monument was built to remember these three illustrious Spaniards. It was the work of the Aragonese sculptor Poncio Ponzano and on the exterior walls the Allegories of Purity, Government and Reform. The monument to Liberty was inaugurated on February 20, 1857 in the old cemetery of San Nicolás. When the cemetery disappeared, the monument was transferred to the Pantheon of Illustrious Men in 1912.
Therefore, the Statue of Liberty in Madrid (1853) predates the one in New York (1875-1879).
The Poncio Ponzano sculpture is about two meters high and is made of white Carrara marble. The author himself, before making it, said that it would be “a graceful young woman, lightly dressed, her head covered with a Phrygian cap and rays of light shining from her hair”.
It should be noted that the two bronze lions at the entrance to the Congress of Deputies they are also the work of Poncio Ponzano. They were cast from cannons taken from the enemy in the African War in the mid-19th century.
For visit the Statue of Liberty in Madrid you have to go to the Pantheon of Illustrious Men, located at Calle Julián Gayarre 3. Admission is free and the hours are from Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Sundays and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.