Madrid, 1936

During the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) iconoclastic activity directed at churches, monasteries and Catholic monuments spread throughout the country. The ‘execution’ of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by militia at Cerro de Los Ángeles near Madrid was the most infamous of widespread destruction of religious property.

Built in 1919, it was inaugurated by King Alfonso XIII, who was subsequently deposed by the Spanish Republic in 1931. Because the Catholic Church supported the Nationalist insurgents against the Republicans, the monument became symbolic of the Civil War’s struggles.

Sam Durant, Madrid, 1936  (2018) Graphite on paper, 138.4 x 179.1 cm © Sam Durant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Photo: Makenzie Goodman