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Saturday, July 04, 2020

Another failed painting restoration in Spain starts a laughing riot online

According to local reports an avid art collector paid €1,200 to clean his copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s 17th-century work. After two attempts to fix it, the painting now stands completely destroyed.

By: Trends Desk | New Delhi | Published: June 23, 2020 9:41:48 pm
restoration fail, beast jesus, ecce homo, conservation, spain artwork restoration fail, Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Murillo painting restoration fail, The Immaculate Conception, viral news, funny news The original artwork and the failed attempt has started a meme fest online.

Botched-up paintings and Spain has a history and it seems the country has been hit again by a horrible art restoration work — this time, a classic Virgin Mary painting has been turned into an unrecognisable blob. The tragic result of the yet another failed restoration work, which is being widely shared online, has made experts call for regulations.

According to local reports, an avid art collector paid €1,200 to clean his copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s 17th-century work The valuable artwork, titled The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables from 1678, was handed to a furniture restorer to be cleaned. However, the results left the art collector horrified. The face of the original appeared completely disfigured, so the owner asked for the work to be repeated — only to make things worse and now the result looks like a child’s painting.

As reported by Europa Press, the collector has now ended up contacting a professional restorer to try to rescue the disfigured painting.

Soon, juxtaposed photos of the original painting and the failed result of the two attempts dominated social media conversation in Spain and elsewhere. Many were reminded about other such failed attempts in the country, particularly of the 2011 infamous restoration that is often referred to as “Monkey Christ”. A devout parishioner’s attempt to restore a church painting of the scourged Christ, known as Ecce Homo, which made north-eastern Spanish town of Borja famous worldwide, initially for wrong reason but later the context changed. According to INews, tens of thousands of tourists came to see the eerie work done on Christ’s face and helped pay for local charitable projects.

Now, as the new failed restoration photos are doing rounds on the internet, people think the new look on Mary is a “mood”, which describes 2020 perfectly, and has become a fodder of memes. Here’s how people are reacting to the gaffe.

According to ArtNet, María Borja, a vice-president of the Valencia chapter of the Professional Association of Conservative Restorers of Spain, told that while a handful of these incidents come to wide attention because of social media, “there are a multitude of situations where the works are intervened by people without training… possibly causing irreversible change”.

Many also highlighted the botched restoration of a 16th-century polychrome statue last year of Saint George and the dragon in northern Spain that left the warrior saint resembling Tintin or a Playmobil figure. Fernando Carrera, a professor at the Galician School for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, told Guardian that such people should not be referred to as restorers and called them “bodgers” who botch and destroy things. “Can you imagine just anyone being allowed to operate on other people? Or someone being allowed to sell medicine without a pharmacist’s licence? Or someone who’s not an architect being allowed to put up a building?” he asked.

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