Spanish Baroque painting botched by amateur restoration

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Europa Press

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Two attempts were made to ‘restore’ Murillo’s original painting

A private art collector in Spain has been left stunned by the botched restoration of a painting by Baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.

The Valencia-based collector paid €1,200 ($1,355; £1,087) for it to be cleaned by a furniture restorer, according to Spain’s Europa Press.

But despite two attempts to fix it, the picture of the Immaculate Conception has been left unrecognisable.

The incident has drawn comparisons with other recent “restorations” in Spain.

In 2012, an elderly parishioner attempted to restore a prized fresco of Jesus Christ at her local church near Zaragoza. But her paint job led to the painting being dubbed ‘Monkey Christ.’

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Centro de Estudios Borjanos

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Elias Garcia Martinez’s Ecce Homo (left) and its “Monkey Christ” rendition

Last year a 16th-Century statue of St George at a church in Navarre also caught public attention after a restoration job, with some comparing its new look to a Playmobile figure.

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ArtUs Restauración Patrimonio

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The St George sculpture before and after the restoration attempt

There is currently no law in Spain forbidding people from restoring artwork, even if they do so without the necessary skills.

In a statement, the country’s Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators (Acre) condemned the lack of legal protections, and called the recent incident an act of “vandalism”.

“This lack of regulation translates into an absence of protection of our heritage,” said Acre.

“In recent years, conservation-restoration professionals have been forced to emigrate or leave their professions due to a lack of opportunities,” it added, warning that the industry was at “serious risk of disappearing” in Spain.