A Spanish art collector couldn’t believe his eyes when their 17th century painting came back looking like this.
The painting in question, called The Immaculate Conception of El Escorial, was created sometime in the late 1600’s by the Spanish artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. I don’t know much about 300 year old religious art, but this painting was widely regarded as one of his best works.
The current owner of the piece, an art collector, decided it was time to restore the aging painting and reportedly paid €1,200 to have it cleaned. In the process of cleaning, it seems the restorer totally ruined poor Mary’s face and tried to cover it up as best they could. Which, clearly, didn’t work. The owner has said they plan to bring the painting to specialists in the hope of restoring the restoration but it’s not looking very likely.
This isn’t the first time something like this has happened, sadly. There was a famously bad restoration done to a painting of Jesus Christ back in 2012 that looks hilariously awful which led to endless memes at the painting’s expense.
In regards to failed restorations, María Borja of the Professional Association of Conservative Restorers of Spain had this to say to Europa Press:
We only know the cases that society denounces through the press or social networks, but there are a multitude of situations where the works are intervened by people without training. The works undergo this type of non-professional intervention, and can cause change irreversible.
It is important to have professionals, because the pieces have to be studied individually, they are unique pieces, with a historical, cultural and emotional value, the materials must be reversible and there must be didactic work for the owners of the goods, of course, a guarantee of a job well done, with rigour and professional ethics.
It’s obvious that this is a major problem among the art world, and I think it’s important to prevent this from happening in the future. We don’t want to see historically significant pieces of art and culture be ruined by idiots who aren’t doing their jobs properly. It reminds me of when Notre Dame burnt down a year ago because of botched restorations to their roof, it sucks to see this kind of stuff happen. But if you want to get your mind off ruined art, go see an exclusive show at this opera house while you can.
Featured image from collector/Europa Press