It is an image that came to define the reign of a playboy monarch.
The then King Juan Carlos I of Spain, on one of his many hunting trips, posing triumphantly with a rifle in hand in front of his sprawling prey: a dead elephant.
Now, nearly a decade on from his abdication, the former monarch’s prodigious hunting exploits have come back to haunt him in the heart of Madrid, thanks to the appearance of a rifle-wielding statue.
It was positioned in the city’s Puerta del Sol square yesterday to make it look as though the former king was pointing a rifle at the famous Bear and Strawberry Tree (El Oso y el Madroño) statue, which depicts the official symbols of Madrid.
Juan Carlos, now 85, famously shot nine bears during a single hunting trip in Romania in 2004 and, in a separate trip to Russia, allegedly shot a tame bear which had been plied with honey and vodka.
A rifle-wielding statue of Spain’s former King Juan Carlos I appeared in Madrid’s Puerta del Sol square yesterday, arranged to look as though he was pointing his weapon at the city’s famous El Oso y el Madroño – the Bear and the Strawberry Tree – statue
He shot the elephant dead during a hunting trip in 2006, but the infamous photo did not emerge until years later.
Juan Carlos abdicated in 2014 in favour of his son Felipe.
His popularity plummeted after details emerged of another elephant-shooting trip, this time to Botswana in 2012, where he was joined by his former lover, aristocrat Corinna zu Sayn-Wittgenstein-Sayn.
The extraordinary lavish jaunt sparked fury because it came at a time when ordinary Spaniards were suffering a terrible recession and youth unemployment that stood at 50 per cent.
The new depiction of Juan Carlos was made by artist Nicolas Miranda and called ‘Parasitic Strategies for Survival in a Cruel World’.
It deliberately alludes to the former monarch’s love of hunting.
Miranda said: ‘My work as a contemporary artist is parasitic. I parasite something that already exists.
Juan Carlos’s elephant-shooting trip to Botswana in 2012 caused a media frenzy and national outcry in Spain. Above: A photo of the king posing next to an elephant he had shot dead in an earlier hunting trip in 2006
The new depiction of Juan Carlos was made by artist Nicolas Miranda and called ‘Parasitic Strategies for Survival in a Cruel World’
‘For example, I connect the Madrid monument with the Spanish monarchy to make a parody of the symbol of the city.’
After eight minutes of it standing next to the Bear and the Strawberry Tree, which is photographed by thousands of tourists every day, Miranda removed his statue.
It was 67inches (170cm) tall and made of polyurethane and modelling clay covered with metallic paint resembling patina on bronze.
While it puzzled some tourists and passersby, some Spaniards took to Twitter to share their approval.
‘Is it the best metaphor for our parliamentary monarchy? I say yes,’ wrote one user.
El Oso y el Madroño, the work of the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé, was installed in 1967. Above: Mirand’s depiction of Juan Carlos ‘aiming’ at the bear
Tourists walk by the new ‘statue’ in Madrid’s Puerta Puerta del Sol square yesterday
A view of a sculpture of rifle-wielding former Spanish King Juan Carlos I pointing at ‘Statue of the Bear and the Strawberry Tree’ representing the coat of arms of Madrid
Juan Carlos is seen on his yacht in Sanxenxo, northern Spain, last Thursday
El Oso y el Madroño, the work of the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé, was installed in 1967. It represents the coat of arms of Madrid.
Before his self-inflicted downfall, Juan Carlos had been revered for overseeing the country’s transition to democracy following the death of dictator Francisco Franco.
He ruled as King from 1975 and was rightly praised for refusing to back down during an attempted coup in 1981.
Juan Carlos now lives in exile in the United Arab Emirates, is estranged from his wife and family and is facing a multi-million pound lawsuit from his former mistress.
Last week he was pictured in London leaving the exclusive private member’s club Oswald’s ahead of a reported private lunch with King Charles.
He was then pictured on his yacht in northern Spain just days later.
Source : https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12019785/Statue-mocking-Spains-former-King-Juan-Carlos-hunting-scandal-baffles-passers-Madrid.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ito=1490&ns_campaign=1490&rand=1270