Please enjoy this latest art restoration fail from, as always, Spain

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One of the strangest things about this timeline is that Spain, a famously cultured, historic haven for artists, is becoming known as the home for botched art restorations. Spain – and sh-tty Spanish art restorers – are responsible for some of the worst restorations in recent memory, including but not limited to the “Monkey Christ” fiasco, the garish fluorescent Mary bronze work and whatever happened to that poor painting of the Virgin Mary. Now there’s another: some Spanish art restorer was tasked with “fixing” a carving outdoors. It was noticed by a local artist, who posted the side-by-side of the original and potato-head “fix” on Facebook, where it went viral.

Spain, the country most famous for producing botched art restorations, has produced, for your viewing pleasure, yet another mauled artwork, this time in the city of Palencia. What was once a handsomely carved smiling female figure surrounded by livestock has been transformed into a claymation nightmare. In this case, which was first reported by a local news outlet, the results resemble a failed facelift undertaken on some poor, unwitting snowman. It’s almost as if a child was tasked with the job.

But really, what child could produce such a nightmare? The female figure’s head, once tilted downward, is now a smooth, egg shape, with cockeyed mismatched eye sockets stuck on. The figure’s nose is a soft mound, and the mouth is formed by two thin, slightly upturned lips, her cheeks and chin nowhere to be found. Taken together, the figure now resembles Donald Trump, one Twitter user noted, right down to the asymmetrical hair swoop.

On Facebook, Palencia resident Antonio Guzmán Capel noted that, while the restorer was doubtless at fault, the real criminal here was surely whomever commissioned the job and did nothing to rectify the grievous situation. The Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators, bless its heart, noted on Twitter that “this is NOT a professional restoration.”

[From Artnet]

As I was looking at coverage of this and other poorly restored art in Spain, I kept seeing something weird – every time one of these #RestorationFails happens in Spain, the damaged art becomes a tourist attraction. People genuinely want to travel to see these travesties, likely so they can have a good laugh in person. It’s now something of a cottage industry in Spain: grossly defacing historic art and then having that damaged art become a must-see for tourists.

Photos courtesy of Twitter, Facebook.

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29 Responses to “Please enjoy this latest art restoration fail from, as always, Spain”

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  1. Redder says:

    This is definitely being done on purpose, and honestly I don’t find it cute.

    • MissMarierose says:

      Yeah, I agree. After the “monkey Jesus” went viral and brought a ton of attention to the small town where it is, other people got ideas and did this on purpose to boost the tourist industry. It’s sad, really.

      • Meg says:

        Aren’t there signs in Barcelona ‘tourists you make life miserable’. I thought locals there hated tourists?

    • Becks1 says:

      Agreed. Its really sad to see art treated like this.

    • Seraphina says:

      I agree, no “artist” in their right mind would find this acceptable. And yes, it is very sad.

    • lucy2 says:

      I agree. The first one was an honest (yet horrific) mistake, but now it’s people defacing art to bring people in to the towns to see it.
      It’s incredibly sad and frustrating, as there are trained professionals who dedicate their careers to properly restoring and saving artwork.

    • Friday13th says:

      Yes, I agree it’s all done on purpose!

  2. Liz version 700 says:

    Sweet Mercy!

  3. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    Here we are again. Choosing money above history, tradition, respect, honor and reverence. Centuries upon centuries of growth in intelligence, science and industry expanding our global reach and people are flocking to see failure. To mock the defacement of history. People all over the globe should be ashamed of themselves, and Spain should know better. Where’s their pride? So shameful.

  4. LaUnicaAngelina says:

    That last tweet! 😂😂😂

    It’s really a shame to see these not restored properly. “Monkey Christ” was funny but now it seems obvious these other “restorations” are purposely done.

  5. Charlie says:

    This isn’t restoration- it’s alteration and it’s criminal.

    It’s heartbreaking

    • Traveler says:

      I completely agree.
      It is tragic to defile what was a beautiful stone carving in an attempt to manufacture an insipid tourist attraction.

  6. phaedra says:

    Caption contest! “Dorian Grey, after years of voting for Trump.”

  7. Mina_Esq says:

    There is zero chance that this latest “restoration” wasn’t intentionally done. Altering the sculpture to that extent requires effort.

  8. Teresa says:

    I may have a real shot at art restoration. I’m not trained at all, but I am an actively better painter than those.

  9. Jumpingthesnark says:

    By turns sad and hilarious. I’m curious about Arthistorians opinion on this.

    • Anna says:

      It’s a problematic trend but not the worst atrocity by any means. Art history includes many priceless works of art and objects that have been altered in some manner whether by negligence, through destruction based on extremism, or intentionally for religious and/or tourist purposes. The Catholic church has always made a lot of its money from what are essentially tourist attractions for the devoted, featuring everything from a saint’s tooth or other body part displayed on velvet cushions, etc. Some of these “edited” works are humorous, some deeply revered, others like this “edit” ended up like this as a consequence of many factors.

      The best thing to come out of the so-called Monkey Christ debacle was Kate McKinnon’s parody of Cecilia Gimenez on Saturday Night Live. If you haven’t seen it, please take a look! 😉

  10. paranormalgirl says:

    That looks like an homage to Donald Trump, and it, too offends me. I am such an easily offended snowflake this morning.

  11. Amelie says:

    I was laughing about this yesterday so much. So as someone who lived in Spain for two years, I can categorically tell you this is not being done on purpose for tourist purposes. I love the country so much but I swear to God, the most ridiculous things happened to me while living there. These botched artwork representations are very… indicative of how things are run there lol.

    The first one and the most famous, the Monkey Christ/Ecce Mono fiasco that went viral in 2012, was done by an elderly parishioner Cecilia Gimenez in her 80s who was upset that the original fresco was flaking off and she decided to restore the thing herself with permission from the church’s clergy. Never in her life did Cecilia Gimenez intend on becoming the target of memes and the laughingstock of the Internet. But now she’s selling her amateur artwork for lots of money and the town gets so much money from tourists visiting the church to see the fresco, they donate a lot of it to charity.

    As for the other botched ones, one of the ones in the tweet above (the soldier) actually underwent an “unrestoration” project and was restored to what it actually looked like. The regional government poured something like 30,000 euros to fix it, they were so embarrassed. So really it’s only Borja that capitalized on the whole thing because it had all the ingredients of a ridiculous story. And I totally want to go Borja and see the thing in person. 😀

  12. ce says:

    I know this is a travesty, but I’m also thrilled that this is today’s big news and not some political dumpster fire as per the last 4 years

  13. ennie says:

    Picasso was born there , so…

  14. Le4Frimaire says:

    Do they not have proper art restorers over there? They really should work with experts with a known track record of historical restoration or just preserve it in its current state. This is vandalism and a disgrace. They wouldn’t think it so cute if someone did this defacing as a political or anti-western statement.

  15. Le4Frimaire says:

    Do they not have proper art restorers over there. They really should work with experts with a known track record of historical restoration or just preserve it in its current state.

  16. lanne says:

    It looks like I made it.

  17. Friday13th says:

    You wonder if they do these on purpose to boost tourism numbers!

  18. The Recluse says:

    Can we get one of these restorers to try their hand on that idiotic Mary Wollstonecraft sculpture? Anything they could do would only be an improvement.