AIL Madrid is playing a part of its own with newly commissioned works created for our classrooms by local Spanish artist Raquel Portillo Caballero. These works represent the iconic city sites that our spaces are named after, such as Cibeles, Serrano, Puerta de Alcala, and more. Recently, we took the time to chat with Raquel about her interpretations and reasoning behind each piece and we hope you enjoy their rich symbolism as much as we do!
The current sculpture depicts God’s favored angel, Lucifer, who was banished from heaven to an existence of eternal suffering. Through curious circumstances, the statue was placed in Retiro, 666 meters above sea level, causing many to interpret its placement as a tribute to the devil.
The canvas stands in apparent calm and serenity, despite the vibrant colors that appear throughout the Madrid series. The fallen angel would seem to be in a state of acceptance of what has befallen him, if not for the wounded heart that contrasts so strongly with the yellow background.
La LatinaLa Latina is one of the best-loved neighborhoods in Madrid and offers a plethora of authentic Spanish food, art, winding streets, and open air markets. Raquel chose to represent this famous district with one of its best-known sites: the Teatro La Latina, home to some of the best music and theater in the city. The theater and its boundless art forms symbolize the cultural spirit of this area, which combines classicism and modernity, as well as the past, present, and future of Madrid.
SolSol is by far the most famous and iconic square in Madrid, with a history dating back hundreds of years. It features some of the most iconic elements of the city, such as the medieval statue of the bear and the tree, the clock tower used to ring in the New Year, and the famous Tio Pepe sherry sign that has escaped bombings and change for almost a century. In addition, Sol is the starting point for all roads radiating out of the city and marks this with a ‘kilometer 0’ plaque in front of the clock tower. The artist chose to represent these famous icons in a triptych of violet, atmospheric symbols that catch the observer’s eye much like the pulsing city center itself.
GenovaThe Colon skypscapers, designed in the seventies by the architect
Antonio Lamela, are among the highest buildings in the city and face the famous plaza of the same name. They were built at a time of economic revival, following the decline of the dictatorship, and are the most iconic element of the Genova neighborhood in the artist’s eyes: the towers symbolize Madrid taking its place as one of the most prominent European capitals and securing its power with the modernity of the interlocking