Botched painting restoration turns Virgin Mary into a caricature


A Spanish art connoisseur was left agape from the end results of a picture restoration done by furniture restorers he appointed. What was supposed to be a clarified face of Mother Mary, turned out to look more like a victim of plastic surgery gone wrong.

The private art collector from Valencia reportedly paid a significant amount €1,200 ($1,355; £1,087) – that is more than a lakh Indian Rupees – to restore the copy of Mother Mary by famous Baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Spain’s Europa Press reports.

But to the art collector’s surprise, the famous art piece called “The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables,” was left unrecognizable after two restoration attempts.

Experts in Spain are now calling for tighter law regarding such botched painting restorations and irreversible disfigurement of famous portraits. Currently, there is no law in Spain that mandates strict expert handling of the famous paintings, and people even without knowledge on the subject are allowed to work.

The Inmaculada Concepción of Virgin mary by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, 1658. (Image via Commons)

The latest Mother Mary art joins the long line of similar cases in Spain, including the infamous ‘Monkey Christ.’ Eight years ago a devout parishioner attempted to restore an immaculate conception of Jesus on the wall of a Church in north-east Spain, which went on to become disfigured to such an extent people started to call it a ‘Monkey Christ.’ Another similar incident that happened last year after a failed restoration attempt made a 16th-Century statue of St George at church in Navarre look like a ‘Playmobil figure.’

The infamous restoration attempt by a parishioner made a prized painting of Christ look like a ‘monkey’ (Image courtesy of @reviewwales via Twitter)

In a statement, Spain’s Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators (Acre) strongly condemned the recent case dubbing it as ‘vandalism’ and demanded stricter laws in Spain that would prevent such instances.

“I don’t think this guy – or these people – should be referred to as restorers,” Carrera told the Guardian. “Let’s be honest: they’re bodgers who botch things up. They 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?” a former president of Spain’s Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators (Acre), Carrera told The Guardian.

Here’s how netizens are reacting

(Cover image courtesy of @reviewwales/ Europa Press via Twitter)

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