Bogota, April 11 (IANS/EFE) One of the whiskers on the giant "El Gato" (The Cat) statue donated by painter and sculptor Fernando Botero to his native Medellin has been stolen, an official in the Colombian city told EFE.
The theft targeting the 1,050-kg work of art occurred Thursday.
This is not the first time that a work by the world famous artist has been vandalized and experts will be called in to restore the statue.
The big cat has 14 whiskers and officials will consult Botero, aiming to restore the $1.3 million work to its original condition in the next few weeks.
"El Gato", which is made of bronze, has graced the plaza at the San Cristobal Library Park in Medellin, where Botero was born in 1932, since April 2.
The gigantic feline, which is 3.9 meters long and 1.5 meters tall, was made in the Italian city of Pietra Santa, where Botero lives for several months each year.
The artist donated 23 sculptures and part of his private art collection to Medellin, the capital of Antioquia province, several years ago.
Botero's most recent donation to Medellin was 61 works from his "Viacrucis: La Pasion de Cristo", which is currently on exhibit in the Antioquia Museum.
The donation includes 27 oil paintings and 34 drawings of the passion and death of Christ.
Botero, considered Colombia's most famous artist, is known for paintings and sculptures that exaggerate the shape and volume of human figures, animals and objects.
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