The streets of Barcelona are like an open-air museum or art gallery with something to catch your eye at every turn. One of the most unusual statues is a bronze statue of the Flirty Giraffe (La Girafa Coqueta) which is located in the center of the city at the end of Rambla de Catalunya near La Pedrera.
The work of Josep Granayer I Giralt, it was inspired by Venus Victrix by Antonio Canova and features a large giraffe sprawled out on the edge of a bed in a flirty pose. It is likable, funny, unusual and lovely at the same time, and seems to represent a seductive heroine waiting for her hero.
It is part of a set of 2 statues which includes a statue of a bull seated in a thoughtful position. Inspired by Rodin’s “The Thinker,” it has been christened El Toro Pensador, or “The Thinking Bull” by the people of Barcelona. It is located at the other end of the promenade and many say he is the giraffes lost lover.
The giraffe was originally part of a larger collection that was to include a hippo playing the violin, a shy pig and a masquerading peacock. When it was installed in 1972 it caused so much controversy that the city revoked the permissions needed to install the rest of the collection.
At the beginning of the 1970s Rambla de Catalunya was to be converted into a thoroughfare which meant ripping out the trees that line the boulevard and installing an underground car park.
A neighborhood group called Associació d’Amics de la Rambla financed the placing of the statues to thwart the plan. While their remaining ones never showed up, these two Granyer creations saved one of Barcelona’s most charming stretches of avenue.