Updated May 18 2022
Located where the area of La Barceloneta meets Port Vell, Barcelona’s head (in Catalan, Cap de Barcelona and also known as Cara de Barcelona. In English, Barcelona’s face) is an urban sculpture designed by the artist Roy Lichtenstein, although it was made by the Spanish macro sculptor Diego Delgado Rajado. The large size of the sculpture, reaching over 15 metres in height (mainly thanks to the pedestal it stands on), together with its features and the different ways of interpreting its original design a priori and the colourful mosaic that covers it, make it one of the must-see stops when going along the Barcelona coastline.
Born in 1923 in New York, Roy Lichtenstein was a multidisciplinary artist (painter, sculpture, graphic artist etc.) who, despite starting in abstract art, soon started to experiment with Pop Art. He used this style to recreate famous comic book characters on a large scale, which was received with great popularity. Although at times his works did not directly relate to the world of comics, they did carry an aesthetic that reminded you of it. This allowed Lichtenstein to leave a very personal stamp on all of his work.
Made between 1991 and 1992, Barcelona’s Head is one of the many sculptures which were built on the new coastline after the major construction was carried out for the celebration of the 1992 Olympic Games in the city. Although the work stands out in its own right, it shares the stage with another interesting sculpture, the nearby Gambrinus, a huge icon among urban sculptures in the shape of a prawn designed by the artist Javier Mariscal and whose origins also came from (pre-) Olympics Barcelona.
The name chosen for the sculpture, that recreates the face of a women in two dimensions, is no coincidence, as it is dedicated to the city of Barcelona. The work belongs to a series titled Brushstrokes, where Roy Lichtenstein chose to use his Pop Art style, emphasising his intention to pay tribute to comics and painting, two disciplines that dominated the beginning of his artistic career.
Although the piece may remind you of the artist Joan Miró, it is a tribute to another Catalan artist. And this artist is no other than the world famous Antoni Gaudí, who Roy Lichtenstein made a special tribute by covering his work in mosaic in a Trencadís method (a technique created and made popular by Antoni Gaudí where the use of ceramic or stones in random shapes and sizes create different shapes, figures and designs).
Passeig de Colom, s/n, Barcelona.
How to get there?
Metro: Barceloneta (line 4).
Bus: lines 39, 45, 59, 120, D20, H14, V13, V15, V17 and tourist bus.
By foot: located in Port Vell, close to the area of La Barceloneta, the area of La Ribera – El Born and part of the Gothic Quarter, which means you can get to the sculpture on foot by a pleasant walk.
Nearby places of interest
Gambrinus – La Gamba
Museum of History of Catalonia
Barceloneta Clock Tower
Monument to Christopher Columbus in Barcelona