In the vibrant city of Madrid, Spain, the streets come alive with art and culture, and one such piece that has captured the hearts of its residents and visitors alike is “The Hand” (Spanish: La Mano). This captivating bronze sculpture is the creation of the renowned Colombian artist, Fernando Botero, and it has been on public display since 1994, adding a touch of whimsy and plump charm to the city’s landscape.
The Artist: Fernando Botero Fernando Botero is a globally celebrated artist known for his distinctive style, often referred to as “Boterismo.” His unique approach to art involves portraying subjects with exaggerated and plump forms, giving them a sense of playfulness and charm. “The Hand” is a testament to Botero’s artistic vision and his ability to infuse his creations with a sense of whimsy.
A Signature Form “The Hand” is a bronze sculpture that weighs approximately 500 kilograms. What makes this artwork instantly recognizable is its plump and rotund form, a hallmark of Botero’s style. The hand, with its delightful curves and generous proportions, exudes a sense of vitality and joviality that is characteristic of the artist’s work.
Gift to Madrid The story of “The Hand” in Madrid is intertwined with a broader exhibition of Botero’s works in 1994. This exhibition featured twenty-one of the artist’s creations, each showcasing his unique style and artistic flair. To decide which sculpture would become a gift to the city, a public vote was held, and “Woman with Mirror” was the clear winner. This sculpture, like “The Hand,” was an embodiment of Botero’s plump aesthetic and was gifted to the city by the artist.
A Corporate Purchase Madrid’s treasurer at the time, Fernando López Amor, recognized the appeal of Botero’s art and urged corporations to purchase other works from the exhibition for public display. “The Hand” found a new home when it was acquired by Telefónica in October 1994 for 70 million Spanish pesetas, equivalent to around €420,000. The sculpture’s matte finish made it particularly suitable for permanent outdoor display, ensuring that it could be enjoyed by the public for years to come.
A Whimsical Pointer “The Hand” found its place along Madrid’s Paseo de la Castellana, where it became a delightful addition to the city’s artistic landscape. Interestingly, the sculpture’s positioning seemed to point toward the Equestrian statue of Francisco Franco, which stood in the Plaza de San Juan de la Cruz at the time, adding a touch of whimsy and intrigue to its presence in the city.
“The Hand” continues to be a beloved fixture of Madrid’s public art scene, drawing admirers from all walks of life. Its plump and jovial form serves as a reminder of the enduring power of art to bring joy and wonder to those who encounter it in the heart of the Spanish capital.