Marbella's iconic waterskiing Venus will be missing from the town during the coming weeks after being taken away from the seafront walk for restoration.
Early on Wednesday morning, a company that specialises in the upkeep of statues transferred La Venus al Mar, as it is known in Spanish, from Marbella to its Madrid workshop.
The restoration coincides with the construction of the goddess's future home, a fountain on the breakwater of El Faro beach.
"Being close to the sea, the salty air and inclement meteorological conditions have contributed to the deterioration of the Venus, and so these improvement works were necessary," said the councillor for Public Works, Diego López, adding that the restoration should be completed in "approximately one month".
Back to sea
This is the first step to returning the beloved statue to the Mediterranean. Originally, the iconic figure was situated on a breakwater on Playa de Venus, but it had to be relocated in the early 1990s following the removal of these structures. The plan now is to install a new fountain on the circular breakwater on El Faro beach.
This will make the fountain "closer in appearance to the former one", said López. "Those of us old enough to remember will recall that it was circular with the Venus in the centre gazing towards the east, and those are the characteristics that we shall follow."
The budget for the statue restoration is 6,000 euros, while 48,000 euros has been set aside for the construction of the fountain structure, which will be carried out by a "local company", said López.
Work on the new fountain will be carried out while the statue is being restored, with building activity on the breakwater due to commence in three weeks.
As for the space left behind by the Venus statue, on La Fontanilla roundabout, the councillor said, "We are in contact with different groups who have suggested putting anchors there. Another request from the cultural sphere is for historical cannons to be put there, while other alternatives are being studied as well."
Venus on water
Marbella's Venus, a three-metre-high cast bronze statue, depicts the naked Roman goddess on a waterski. It has been a symbol of the town since its creation in 1972 by the sculptor Francisco López Burgos.
In 2019, the council decided to move La Venus from the promenade in Duque de Ahumada to the round breakwater on El Faro beach, a project that is getting under way now.
In its new home, the statue will be equipped with a solar-powered fountain that will shoot out a jet of water from beneath the Venus's ski.
The water for this will be obtained directly from the sea using a circulatory system designed to filter out salt and impurities.
The people of Marbella are now looking forward to welcoming back their goddess once her makeover is complete.