This magnificent monument by Aniceto Marinas stands in tribute to the Dos de Mayo Uprising of 1808 in Spain against the French occupation during the Peninsular Wars that signalled the start of the Spanish War of Independence. It is one of many tributes to the uprising that can be found across Spain and is located next to the Temple of Debod in the center of Madrid, not far from the Oeste park.
The monument commemorates the heroism of the people of Madrid on May 2nd during clashes with French troops and reflects the harshness and intensity of the fight against the French invaders.
It consists of a lifelike group of sculptures with a cannon as the central element, around which are a fallen man and woman, a terrified child, a soldier leaning on the cannon and above the set, a winged woman carrying a folded flag. It is said that the soldier is Lieutenant Luis Daoiz, a Spanish artillery officer and one of the leaders of the Dos de Mayo Uprising, along with Juan Manuel Malasaña, and his daughter Manuela Malasaña.
The sculptures sit on top of a cylindrical stone pedestal that has an inscription that reads “to the people / del / dos de mayo / de / 1808” , with a bronze version of the Madrid coat of arms above it.
Originally sculpted in Rome in 1891, the sculpture received a First Class Medal at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in 1892, after which it was acquired by the State for the Museum of Modern Art in Spain.
It was inaugurated on the morning of May 4, 1908 during a ceremony that featured the Count of Peñalver (mayor of Madrid) and Antonio Maura (President of the Council of Ministers).
Since there was no time to melt the bronze for the inauguration of the statue, a plaster model was secretly installed in its place concealed by a layer of green paint that faded with the rains, to the surprise of the people of Madrid. In October 1908, the final bronze sculpture was cast in Madrid and was placed on the pedestal.