Royal Academy of Fine Arts

Spanish sculptor Ricardo Bellver won First Medal with El Ángel Caído (The Fallen Angel, 1877) in Spain’s National Exhibition of Fine Arts, held in Madrid in 1878. In the same year, El Ángel Caído was cast in bronze for the third Paris World’s Fair (where, incidentally, the head of Lady Liberty was also on display). As amazing as the experience of seeing the pedestaled Fallen Angel in Madrid’s majestic Retiro Park may be, visiting the replica in the Spanish capital’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando (Bellver’s alma mater) is arguably more moving. There, El Ángel Caído rests at the top of the entryway staircase, and approaching The Fallen Angel statue, which is illuminated by the almost heavenly brilliance of the room’s natural light, is genuinely awe-inspiring. To stand before The Fallen Angel is to be able to appreciate the massiveness of the figure of Bellver’s Lucifer, who, if he were to come to his feet, would probably tower over spectators at about eight or nine feet tall. To visit Ricardo Bellver’s replica El Ángel Caído statue is to come as close as possible to experiencing a face-to-face meeting with the Miltonic-Romantic Lucifer.