Spanish art ‘restoration’ turns Baroque Virgin Mary into botched plastic surgery victim

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VALENCIA, SPAIN (NEXSTAR) — This was not an immaculate restoration. A furniture restorer was hired by an anonymous owner to clean up a copy of “The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables,” a famous work by Baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, Europa Press reports.

After two attempts, the Virgin Mary looked like a victim of bad plastic surgery. After reportedly paying nearly $1,400 for the mess, the collector has hired another—properly trained—specialist to try and salvage the painting.

The mess is similar to what happened to “Monkey Jesus” in 2012 when a parishioner’s attempt to restore a painting of Christ on the wall of a church in the Spanish town of Borja went viral.

The work is also similar to the botched restoration of a 16th-century statue of Saint George and the dragon in northern Spain that resembled a cartoon afterward:

“I don’t think this guy—or these people—should be referred to as restorers,” Fernando Carrera, a professor at the Galician School for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, told the Guardian. “Let’s be honest: They’re bodgers who botch things up. They destroy things.”

A woman wearing a face mask stands in front of the painting "The immaculate Conception of Los venerables"
A woman wearing a face mask stands in front of the painting “The immaculate Conception of Los venerables” by Spanish painter Bartolome Murillo at the Prado Museum in Madrid. ( GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP via Getty)

“Can you imagine just anyone being allowed to operate on other people?” asked Carrera. “Or someone being allowed to sell medicine without a pharmacist’s license? Or someone who’s not an architect being allowed to put up a building?”

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