Fascinating history of the “Lady of Elche” discovery is now on display

Fascinating history of the "Lady of Elche" discovery is now on display. Image Jose Aldeguer/Shutterstock.com

Unpublished manuscripts reconstruct the “Lady of Elche” discovery in 1897 EFE have confirmed.

As of Monday, July 4, objects, photos and press clippings from the period are on display in an exhibition organised by the University of Alicante on the Costa Blanca.

The objects were taken from the site of La Alcudia, where this “symbol of Elche’s identity” was discovered in 1897.

The objects on display include original manuscripts of the Elche historian, Pedro Ibarra, who was part of the discovery team of the Lady of Elche all those years ago.

“The Lady of Elche: the birth of an icon” is the name of the exhibition which coincides with the 125th anniversary of the discovery of the Iberian bust.

The historical journey begins with the discovery of the Lady of Elche on 4 August 1897, its treatment as an icon of universal culture, its conversion into a sign of identity of Elche society and its appearance in all kinds of publications.

Ana Ronda who is head of cataloguing at the University Foundation of La Alcudia and curator of the exhibition has said “this exhibition provides documentation of the Lady’s stay in the Louvre Museum in Paris.”

“She is not only an emblematic and fundamental piece of Iberian art but also an icon of identity”, 

Ana also confirmed that the Lady facilitated the Heritage Law in 1911 and, after her return from Paris, her image as a Spanish woman was appropriated.

The highlight of the exhibition is the original documentation of the historian Pedro Ibarra from Elche, family of the owners of La Alcudia.

In 1897 Pedro Ibarra had handwritten” the moment the bust was found and added press cuttings, photos and objects that he collected and bound in a book.

This exhibition is the first time the documents can be seen by the public.


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Written by

Anna Ellis

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