This botched Spanish sculpture restoration is possibly the worst yet

11 November 2020, 12:22 | Updated: 11 November 2020, 13:38

The Spanish sculpture is the latest in botched restorations
The Spanish sculpture is the latest in botched restorations. Picture: Facebook

By Sian Moore

When life feels a little bleak, another botched restoration comes along to bring us a little joy (and a groan).

Carved into an early 20th-century building in the city of Palencia, there once sat a beautifully crafted sculpture of a woman beside some livestock.

In an attempt to restore years of weathering and damage, an unnamed “restoration expert” was employed to return the artwork to its former intricate glory.

But as is the nature of recent Spanish restorations it seems – see the Ecce Homo restoration in Borja – it all went terribly, terribly wrong.

Now, passersby in the northern Spanish city are greeted with a piece of art that bears more resemblance to, what social media users have termed, Mr Potato Head, Donald Trump, or “sand sculptures kids do on the beach”.

Read more: Botched artwork restoration in Spain leaves the Virgin Mary unrecognisable >

The botched restoration in the city of Palencia
The botched restoration in the city of Palencia. Picture: Facebook

Perhaps the artist responsible for the restoration hoped the sculpture’s fumbled face-job would go unnoticed alongside its ornate stone neighbours.

But this is 2020, and unfortunately anything with meme-worthy potential spreads across the Internet like wildfire.

Read more: Whale tail artwork saves train plunging into water in Holland >

Local artist Antonio Guzman shared the images on social media. “For someone has made this masterpiece, the new ‘Christ’ of Borja, this is because of being made a Christ, and he sure has charged for it,” he said.

“But more crime has the person who has commissioned it and has become so wide. Looks like a cartoon character.”

After seeing the Palencia blob head, Spain’s Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators highlighted the importance of using professionals to restore artworks, tweeting an image captioned “#ThisIsNotARestoration”.

The restoration is the latest in a series of hilarious botched jobs
The restoration is the latest in a series of hilarious botched jobs. Picture: Facebook

Read more: Artist uses flute and clarinet to make an exquisite miniature ‘musical kitchen’ >

The Ecce Homo, which Guzman refers to in his comments, is now dubbed the ‘Monkey Christ’ after a devout parishioner took it upon herself to restore the flaky artwork in 2012.

In an attempt to fix its patchy depiction and breathe new life into the fading face of Christ, Cecilia Giménez tried to repair artist Elías García Martínez’s work, which was painted almost a century prior.

Unfortunately, the result wasn’t quite on the money, and was quickly picked up by the local historical association.

And soon after, the entire world.

The Ecce Homo is now dubbed the ‘Monkey Christ’ after its botched restoration
The Ecce Homo is now dubbed the ‘Monkey Christ’ after its botched restoration. Picture: Getty

More recently, we witnessed the botched revamp of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s Immaculate Conception – the result of a €1,200 job by an unnamed restoration company in Valencia, Spain.

Read more: Artist brings historical portraits to life in hyperrealistic drawings >

The final product left the Virgin Mary utterly unrecognisable.

The botched restoration of Murillo’s Virgin Mary
The botched restoration of Murillo’s Virgin Mary. Picture: Getty

The painting’s private collector apparently handed the artwork over to be cleaned, but it came back completely altered with the Virgin Mary’s face all but replaced.

Another attempt was made to restore it back to its former glory, but unfortunately, it just made things worse.

Moral of the story? If it isn’t disastrously broke – don’t attempt to fix it.