Josep Llimona y Bruguera, the sculptor of Modernism

Josep Llimona i Bruguera is one of the best known sculptors of Catalan Modernism and a well-known collaborator of Gaudí.

Born on 8 April 1863 into a wealthy family, Josep Llimona is considered one of the leading representatives of Modernist sculpture. His brother, Joan Llimona, was the leading representative of the mystical side of Catalan Modernist painting. The sons of the two brothers were also artists, continuing the lineage begun with the successful Llimona brothers.

Josep Llimona studied at the Llotja school and in the workshop of the German sculptors Venanci and Agapit Vallmitjana. In 1880, when he was only 16 years old, he obtained with “The Prodigal Son” the Fortuny Pension from the Barcelona City Council. Thanks to it, he moved with his brother Joan to Rome, where he continued to study and work in the workshop of the painter Enric Serra and in the Giggi Academy. There she made the first draft of the well-known statue “Ramon Berenguer el Grande”. That work meant for Llimona the possibility of renewing the pension for one more year in order to finish it and, later, to win the Gold Medal at the 1888 Barcelona Exhibition. The commissions were constant for the incipient artist on his return to Barcelona.

In 1893, they founded, together with their brother and other artists, the Círculo Artístico de San Lucas. This association watched over the preservation of art in the face of the excesses of the artists of the time. During this period, Josep Llimona was highly influenced by the religious life so active that he adopted his brother and made sculptures with religious themes.

Outstanding works

Among his prolific work, one of his most outstanding is “Desconsuelo”, which won the prize of honour at the International Exhibition of Fine Arts in Barcelona in 1907. Two years later, Josep Llimona was appointed town councillor and member of the Board of Museums, of which he later became president on two occasions.

Five years later he collaborated with Gaudí in the First Mystery of Glòria at Montserrat with the sculpture “Cristo resucitado”. In 1920 they dedicated an entire room of the Barcelona Fine Arts Exhibition to his work as a tribute. Four years later he made what would be considered one of his masterpieces: the statue of Saint George.

Josep Llimona died on February 27, 1934, and was the second president of the Museums Board.