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Valls i Vicens Hypogeum – Montjuïc Cemetery

Lluís Domènech i Montaner was the architect commissioned to design the front of the tomb for Josep Maria Valls i Vicens and his family. This late 19th-century novelist, was also a lawyer, banker and politician associated with the political party, the Regionalist League, which numbered Domènech i Montaner among its founding members. To honour his memory, the architect designed an Egyptian-style tomb and commissioned Frederic Masriera's prestigious foundry to cast the monumental bronze panel in 1895. The foundry had spearheaded the revival of wax casting and won great acclaim at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition.

The hypogeum is in Montjuïc Cemetery. The Egyptian winged sun disc, symbolising the rebirth of kings, has been carved into the stone at the top. The bronze memorial panel features a plethora of decorative motifs, including olive leaves winding up the base of a cross with verses from the Bible on either side: one from the Old Testament on the left and another from the New Testament on the right. At the top, you can see the name of the family carved inside a rounded arch framing a painstakingly sculpted wreath of flowers that includes three opium poppy heads: the plant associated with eternal sleep. This magnificent example of funerary art is also a highly representative example of Lluís Domènech i Montaner's fondness for the characteristic ornamentation of the art nouveau, or modernista, period.

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