A mayor in Sweden reportedly is under fire after using taxpayer money to commission a painting depicting him as a Roman soldier.
Hörby Mayor Lars Ahlkvist paid an artist friend 600,000 kronor ($91,584) in public funds for a mural that not only depicts him as a Roman legionary, but also features a local financier depicted as Sweden's King Karl XI and his partner as a noblewoman, according to The Local.
The painting reportedly was not put out for public bidding, but was commissioned during a series of meetings between the town's top officials and the artist.
The cost of the painting is supposed to be shared between Hörby municipality and the industrial property company, The Local reports.
The painting is a combination of the past and the present, Ahlkvist explained.
"In the painting, Jesus is escorted by a modern police officer," the mayor told a local Swedish paper.
City manager Arne Bertilsson argues the city didn't need to put the commissioning of the painting out for bidding because it required specialist skills, according to the Local.
"That's why we decided to use the existing exceptions to the rules in the procurement laws, which gave us the right to contact and choose one artist only," Bertilsson said.