Visitors at El Oso y el Madroño monument surprised by Juan Carlos I with shotgun

by Lorraine Williamson
El Oso y el Madroño

MADRID – In the wake of the uproar in Spain over the visit of King Felipe VI’s father to the country, a small statue of Juan Carlos I at the Oso y el Madroño in Puerta del Sol surprised visitors and tourists on Tuesday. 

The sculpture shows the former king of Spain with a shotgun in his hands. The replica is right next to the Oso y el Madroño monument in the heart of Madrid.  And that’s exactly where he’s aiming. 

Chilean artist Nicolás Miranda created this piece of Juan Carlos I with a shotgun. The figure attempts to ridicule the public image of the emeritus king. Juan Carlos I moved to Abu Dhabi to escape legal attacks against him in Spain for tax evasion and corruption. 

No visit to Felipe VI 

A few days ago, the monarch visited Sanxenxo to take part in a sailing competition, after an express stop in London, where he attended a Real Madrid competition as a guest. The Spanish press concluded from the fact that the former monarch did not visit his son in Madrid that their relationship is broken. 

Successful artist 

The author of the image, Nicolás Miranda, poses in Público.es next to his creation by Juan Carlos I. The work is part of his latest production, titled ‘Parasitic strategies for survival in a cruel world’. Miranda, a fine arts graduate with multiple credits, has had a long and successful career in Latin America. 

El Oso y el Madroño 

The monument El Oso y el Madroño (The Bear and the Strawberry Tree) is one of the city’s most recognisable statues. Standing on Puerta del Sol since 1967, it was designed by the sculptor Antonio Navarro Santafé. The bronze bear, about three metres high, stands on its hind legs against a strawberry tree. The tree is also bronze and has red fruits that resemble strawberries. 

The bear and the strawberry tree are symbols of the city of Madrid and the fruits of the tree are depicted on the city’s coat of arms. The monument’s location on the Puerta del Sol is also symbolic, as this square is the centre of Madrid. 

Why the bear? 

The bear comes from the legend of the founding of Madrid. According to legend, the city was founded by the Moorish Emir Mohammed I in the 9th century. While on a hunting trip, he encountered a bear climbing a tree to eat fruit. The Emir took this as a favourable sign and decided to build a fortress on this site, which later grew into the city of Madrid. 

Why the Modroño tree? 

The modroño tree is a native tree species that is common in the mountains around Madrid and in the Sierra de Guadarrama. The fruits are small, red and spherical and resemble strawberries and have a sweet taste. They are used to make a traditional liqueur called Madroño. It is popular throughout Madrid and surrounding regions. 

Related post: This is why costly renovation of Puerta del Sol in Madrid is criticised 

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