A smiling statue of Satan has drawn the ire of citizens of a Spanish town.
Rendering by artist José Antonio Abella of the proposed installation. Courtesy of the artist.
A bronze statue of the devil that was erected as tribute to a local legend—apparently, Satan was duped into building the city’s famous aqueduct—features hell’s horned figurehead smiling. Residents haven’t taken kindly to the work.
The BBC reports that he has been critiqued as, “look[ing] too friendly” and a judge is holding the work to determine whether it is offensive to Christians after the negative response of over 5,500 people, more than 10% of the city's population, signed a petition calling for the statue to be recalled.
The petition’s copy reads, “That representation is offensive to Catholics, because it supposes an exaltation of evil.”
Artist José Antonio Abella didn’t intend to have a devil-may-care attitude toward the whole situation.
"I love Segovia. I have lived here for three decades and I was hoping for this sculpture to be a form of demonstration of how thankful I am to Segovia for being my adopted town,” he said.
"I haven't received any money whatsoever for this sculpture.” the former doctor turned artist continued. “I haven't done this for the money but as a personal tribute to the city I call mine. You can imagine how I feel."
Claudia de Santos, who is in charge of the city’s heritage, called the campaign “unfair and disheartening” and said “I just can’t believe that this could happen in 21st century Spain.”