The sculpture of the waterskiing Venus has been restored. / SUR

Marbella's Venus of the sea, back where she belongs

A year after being taken down and restored, the water skier, sculpted by Francisco Fernández Burgos, is bringing back happy memories

DAVID LERMA

When the figure of the Roman goddess Venus in Marbella was on the jetty by the beach of the same name, she used to face the west. Now, the slim figure of the water skier has begun a new stage of her life, facing east and looking towards the ancient Old Town.

This Amazon of the water, the goddess protecting her beach, has been a much-loved symbol of Marbella since 1972, and on 29 June local people gathered to watch the official ceremony to inaugurate her homecoming and swapped happy memories of their childhoods and their youths under her watchful eye.

The sun was not high enough to cast shadows on the Venus and it was bright enough to admire the vitality of the figure which Jesús Gil ruined when he moved it to another location.

Now, after being restored, and a year after being removed from the Plaza de la Fontanilla, it is easy to see her relaxed and smiling face, her open gaze, and the turquoise tone of the bronze from which she was made glowing in the sunshine. She was happy to be back.

Important to the town

Marbella council decided to restore the sculpture as it was an feature is something important symbol for the town. Cast by Francisco Fernández Burgos, a sculptor from Granada, and commissioned by the mayor, Francisco Canto, this emblem is now on a platform on the circular walkway in the marina, a very popular spot with local residents and visitors alike.

When the jetties were removed in the early 1990s, the Venus was taken down and sent for restoration but this was crudely done, leaving her with her eyes blocked out and looking as if she would never have any possibility of movement. Now, she has been restored to her former beauty and vital appearance, and everyone attending the inauguration wanted to take photos.

It was the mayor of Marbella, Ángeles Muñoz, who said the figure had been dismantled and restored "properly" in Madrid, a process which took six months to complete.

Symbol of modernity

Her new location is, Muñoz said, the only suitable option for her in this area. "When the Venus was first installed she was a symbol of modernity and that is the image that Marbella always needs to have," she said.

The platform on which the figure stands, which has LED lighting and a water recycling pump, will be, Muñoz said, "a symbol of our identity and another attraction for tourists who visit our seafront promenade".

"What we wanted was for the Venus to be situated as close to the sea as possible," she added.

And so there she is, embraced by its waters, leaning competently on her ski, in that curved body position which will be forever engraved in the memories of those who knew her before, and in the future memories of everyone who now sees her for the first time.