How did we get to this place where botched amateur art restoration is so commonplace that I’m struggling to keep track of it? The job of restoring old pieces of artwork, be they murals or sculptures or photography, is an exceedingly difficult calling. It takes years of training and endless hours of agonizing skill, focus, and the lightest of touches. Your job is to make it seem as though the weeks of work you did never existed. When done right, you’d never know that the art was ever in a state of deterioration. When done wrong… well… remember the Jesus mural?
whenever i need a little giggle i know i can just google “botched jesus painting restoration” and have a right old laugh pic.twitter.com/UB9n2cWFfC— jenny eclipse👽@ mass effect remaster AAA!!🚀👩🚀 (@richteajenny) November 10, 2020
Or this ‘touch-up’ of a baroque classic?
BBC News - A private art collector in Spain has been left stunned by the botched restoration of the 17th Century Baroque master Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s Immaculate Conception. https://t.co/bfpNtATqyC pic.twitter.com/suC8H6lQ3i— Catholic Sat (@CatholicSat) June 23, 2020
Or the decision to turn Saint George into Tintin?
The restoration of a 16th-century Saint George figure went horribly wrong. pic.twitter.com/3MQQHvUXnD— HuffPost (@HuffPost) June 26, 2018
Note how all of this keeps happening in Spain. Well, it happened again.
In the city of Palencia, a rather pretty carving of a female figure needed a little work done. Not a total tear-down, just a light touch. Well, the poor woman got a face-lift. By which I mean she had her face removed and replaced by what locals are already saying is a caricature of Donald Trump.
Sí, ha vuelto a ocurrir. #Palencia tiene ya su propio #eccehomo Sospecho que la restauradora igual era pro #Trump 🤦🏻♂️ y se ha dejado llevar por la emoción de estos días en las #EleccionesEEUU pic.twitter.com/sXS0H2AJxg— Aitor Loizaga (@aitorloizaga) November 10, 2020
Yikes. Aardman Animation called and they want their work back.
I’m not sure what horrifies me more: the uneven and misshapen eyes, the nose that looks like a thumb, or the teeny gaping maw that looks like an open wound. The potato jawline isn’t great either. As noted by ArtNet, The Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators, bless its heart, took to Twitter to declare that ‘this is NOT a professional restoration.’ Just in case you weren’t sure.
So, how did this happen? Art restoration is a small field and it’s also extremely expensive. I would assume that the person who commissioned this job wanted it done quickly, cheaply, and without having to spend months researching the right (and qualified) person for the role. So yeah, you get what you pay for. It is pretty depressing that this keeps happening and that there are no safeguards in place to ensure that centuries worth of priceless and irreplaceable art doesn’t become a free-for-all for any chump with a hammer and paintbrush.
But hey, Twitter had some fun.
Is it too late to go to Spanish art restoration school?— Jäsón‽ (@yaesohn) November 11, 2020
I'm no expert, but I'm PRETTY SURE you're supposed to leave the faces on. https://t.co/JdzE4n80f0— Amee Vanderpool (@girlsreallyrule) November 12, 2020
Here's another botched art restoration. Did Mr. Bean do it? pic.twitter.com/RRKuIcqK4q— Canadian Resistance 🇨🇦 (@CanadensisMax) November 12, 2020
Me: I promise I won’t drink too much and turn into a botched Spanish art restoration— Kyle (@SouthManor) November 12, 2020
Me: 13 nattys and 2 bootleggers later https://t.co/Su8yxwRcP8
Header Image Source: Twitter @aitorloizaga