El Cap de Barcelona, Barcelona

3.7
#534 of 1,796 in Things to do in Barcelona
El Cap de Barcelona (1991–1992) is a surrealist sculpture created by American Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein for the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain. Its English title is The Head of Barcelona.
The sculpture was Lichtenstein's first outdoor work using ceramic tile. It is said to acknowledge Antoni Gaudí and Barcelona's affinity for mosaics.
The sculpture stands tall on the waterfront in the heart of the city. Made out of concrete and ceramic, it is an abstract rendition of a woman's head and appears exactly how one would expect a Lichtenstein sculpture to be. Lichtenstein did not start experimenting with three-dimensional art until the late 1970s, and prior to this his main focus was on pop art. He mainly painted on large canvases and his paintings resembled comic-strip art; his signature use of bold primary colors, thick dark lines, thought bubbles containing context and sound effects, and dots used as a method of shading, can be seen in most of his works from 1961 and later, starting with his painting Look Mickey.


Although it is very abstract, it is clear that the sculpture was made to resemble the head and face of a woman. It is made up of thick pieces of concrete completely covered in red, yellow, blue, black and white mosaic tiles, and from far away it looks like it could be a painting. The woman's eyes look like thick blue and black brush strokes; same with her nose, and her lips look like Lichtenstein could have used a quick stroke of bright red paint. The left third of her face, the side with the blue nose and eye, is covered with white tiles, while the right two thirds of her face is covered in a grid of red dots, typical of Lichtenstein's pop-art style. Lichtenstein added other artistic elements to this sculpture as well. Below her head, what would probably be considered the woman's neck, is a tall, flat stroke of blue and white that extends all the way up through her face and ends a few inches above her head. Perpendicular to the blue and white stroke is a stroke of yellow and black, beginning at the bottom and then reappearing at the top of her head.


Similar to his sculptures from the early eighties, specifically his Brushstrokes pieces, the entire sculpture looks like it could have been painted with a few quick strokes of paint. The difference between these earlier pieces and The Head of Barcelona is that his Brushstrokes pieces are created with painted aluminum while The Head is his only piece made out of concrete and covered in mosaic tiles. The reason for this difference in his sculptures is because The Head of Barcelona was built to resemble the style of Antoni Gaudi, a Catalan architect who is famous for employing organic lines and mosaic tiles throughout his architecture, and for which Barcelona is known.
For El Cap de Barcelona and beyond, use our Barcelona trip itinerary app to get the most from your Barcelona vacation.
Source
Create an itinerary including El Cap de Barcelona
map
© OpenMapTiles © OpenStreetMap contributors
El Cap de Barcelona Reviews
Rate this attraction
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.0
136 reviews
Google
4.3
TripAdvisor
  • I'm not sure what this sculpture is trying to say. It didn't mean much to me. Walked by it randomly and decided to take a picture of it.  more »
  • El Cap de Barcelona is a surrealist sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein. Although it looks very abstract, is clearly intended to be a female face with influences from Gaudi, Dalí and Picasso. One for...  more »
Google
  • The placement of the sculpture is a bit odd and you can easily miss it. The sculpture itself is interesting but is not one of the most impressing nor interesting things to do in Barcelona.
  • It's a well know landmark, not sure it's one Lichtenstein's best work. I feel this is not his signature style.

Plan your trip to Barcelona

  • Get a personalized plan

    A complete day-by-day itinerary
    based on your preferences
  • Customize it

    Refine your plan. We'll find the
    best routes and schedules
  • Book it

    Choose from the best hotels
    and activities. Up to 50% off
  • Manage it

    Everything in one place.
    Everyone on the same page.

Popular things to do in Barcelona

See all ›
4.6
Duration:1 h 30 min
4.1
Duration:2 h
4.9
Duration:1 h 30 min

Kid-friendly things to do in Barcelona

See all ›
4.4
Duration:2 h
4.2
Duration:1 h 30 min
4.0
Duration:2 h 30 min
4.4
Duration:1 h 30 min

Museums in Barcelona

See all ›
4.0
Duration:2 h
4.4
Duration:1 h 30 min
3.7
Duration:2 h
5.0
Duration:1 h 30 min

Hidden gems in Barcelona

4.6
Duration:2 h
4.6
Duration:1 h 30 min
5.0
Duration:2 h
4.1
Duration:4 h

Shopping in Barcelona

See all ›
4.4
Duration:1 h
4.3
Duration:1 h 30 min
5.0
Duration:1 h 30 min
5.0
Duration:1 h 30 min

Nearby attractions in Barcelona

4.7
Duration:2 h
2.8
Duration:3 h
4.4
Duration:3 h
4.7
Duration:1 h
4.8
Duration:3 h
4.9
Duration:2 h 30 min
4.5
Duration:1 h 30 min
4.6
Duration:30 min