Bartolomé Esteban Murillo painting restoration went horribly wrong

A private art collector in Valencia, Spain has become the latest victim of botched art restoration, after a painting by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo returned unrecognisable.

The collector paid €1200 ($1956) to a furniture restorer to renew the faded painting of The Immaculate Conception, reported Europa Press and the New Zealand Herald.

Horrified by the result, the amateur restorers tried to fix their mistake, only to make it worse.

After two botched attempts to fix it, the once demure, Baroque portrait of Mary appears to be heavily made up with flattened features.

The Immaculate Conception by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo before and after the restoration.Source:Twitter

While the owner was distraught the internet has been thrilled by the meme-worthy Mary.

It’s certainly a mood pic.twitter.com/8mWGGQJ45f

Oh my god, they Mr.Bean'd it. pic.twitter.com/0hC7vCFjbP

I have already found a job my toddler is qualified for

Experts call for regulation after latest botched art restoration in Spain https://t.co/EkOmRqzHeA

It really does give me hope though that if I lose my job during this pandemic all is not lost. There is still scope for me in art restoration work 😂😂👏🏻👏🏻

Why hasn’t Netflix made a classical art restoration reality show?

So can we just have a nationwide moratorium on art restoration in Spain?

This latest failed restoration has already drawn comparison to other memorably butchered paintings.

In 2012 Elias Garcia Martinez’s depiction of Jesus, Ecce Homo, was so badly repainted that it was redubbed “Monkey Christ”.

Elias Garcia Martinez’s painting Ecce Homo was butchered by amateurs in 2012.Source:Twitter

It appears beauty is in the eye of the beholder. After being defaced by amateurs, Ecce Homo rose from obscurity to become a surprise tourist attraction. Last year, 160,000 tourists came to see the “Monkey Christ” in Zaragoza.

Twitter users were quick to point out this might be life imitating art, reminding many of a gag from Mr Bean’s Ultimate Disaster Movie in which he “restores” the American masterpiece Whistler’s Mother.

This reminds me of a scene from a Bean movie where he “cleans” a painting of Whistler’s Mother. My kids love that scene. 🤣🤣 https://t.co/MJ7gJV0l0a pic.twitter.com/lZ9JJJOYWS

Although there is no law prohibiting museums and collections from repairing artwork without the necessary skills there has been outrage from Spanish experts.

Acre, Spain’s association of professional restorers have dubbed this latest incident and act of “vandalism”.

“This lack of regulation translates into an absence of protection of our heritage,” said a statement from the body.

“In recent years, conservation-restoration professionals have been forced to emigrate or leave their professions due to a lack of opportunities.”

They see the painting’s horrific new look as a tragedy, but an excellent advert for the need for trained restorers, which they say is a profession at “serious risk of disappearing.”

This article originally appeared on the New Zealand Herald and was reproduced with permission

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