Dodgy Restoration Strikes Again!

June 23 2020

Image of Dodgy Restoration Strikes Again!

Picture: The Guardian

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

News broke last night of another botched painting restoration incident in Spain. This time, a copy after Murillo's Immaculate Conception was left in a disfigured state after a private collector paid €1,200 to a furniture restorer to have the work cleaned. (Note - the image on the left is the original on which this copy was based, the two on the right show the two attempts at 'restoration'.)

This comes only a few years after the so-called 'Monkey-Christ' incident in Borja, north-eastern Spain. Art professionals in the country have called for new regulations to stop this from happening again.

Personally, I think this story might be a little overblown. Firstly, the articles do not present an image of the private collector's painting before restoration. As any art historian knows, copies can dramatically vary in quality. Some copies manage to capture the spirit of the original, yet some can make figures and faces appear like taxidermy. The conservation and restoration of a bad copy might have only accentuated the poor quality of the painting. As you old saying goes, you can't polish a (you know what).

Update - There are some images floating around on the internet purporting to show the painting before restoration. It's difficult to tell whether these show the same painting. The canvas and finishing on the 'restored' pictures suggests that the 'copy' might not have been as old or as valuable as the reports suggest.

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