November 23, 2020

Let’s Take A Moment To Appreciate This Year’s Awful Art Restorations

The outcome was, to utilize an art term, a goddamn headache. Europa Press through Getty Images I believe thats when most of us would throw in the towel, call up the art collector, and be like, “Okay, dont be mad–” But no, the furniture-restorer-turned-art-destroyer chose that they might still repair this! Okay, insane idea, but imagine if we tasked the restoration of works of art to– bear with me, here– individuals who are trained to restore works of art. Courtesy of ABC Its not clear what part of this sculpture was in requirement of remediation, however based on the results, Im assuming the problem was that this just looked a little too human. And, alright, aside from the truth that these remediations are straight up abominations, one could argue they are pretty accurate reflections of the year weve all had.

The 2nd curséd “repair” was let loose upon humankind previously today in the Spanish town of Palencia. The victim of this crime wasnt a painting, however a sculpture adorned on the exterior of a building, and the person commissioned to restore it was Antonio Capel– a painter. Okay, insane idea, however imagine if we entrusted the remediation of masterpieces to– bear with me, here– people who are trained to bring back artworks. Just a thought!
The sculpture before the heinous remediation happened looked, honestly, pretty great? Thanks to ABC Its not clear what part of this sculpture needed remediation, but based on the results, Im assuming the issue was that this simply looked a little too human. Courtesy of ABC Good. God.
I imply, its fine, I guess, if the objective is making babies cry and opening a website to a measurement of pure pain and suffering. And, alright, aside from the fact that these repairs are straight up abominations, one could argue they are quite accurate reflections of the year weve all had. Like if there is one picture that perfectly sums up where Im at mentally and mentally in l lth month of 2020, its this.

Jesus wept
When Monkey Jesus (or Potato Jesus, whichever speaks to you more) was unveiled to the world, all of us collectively went, “Well, thats it, thats the worst restoration, nothing could perhaps top this.”
And yet!
Over the last six months Spain has actually blessed cursed us with not one, however TWO more crimes against the arts, potentially humankind as a whole. The first occurred back in June, and Im truthfully furious that Im just finding out about it today.

Considered that 2020 has been an unending shit program of political turmoil, environment catastrophes, and a global pandemic, its reasonable that a few of the less immediate or, will we say, completely alarming things that have transpired over the last year have flown under the radar. 2 of these news stories that were hushed by the fact that the world is on fire, both figuratively and literally, come to us from Spain, and both include the arts.
Spain, like much of Europe, was forever altered by its Renaissance duration, and is popular for the artworks produced during that duration and in the centuries that followed. Whats certainly less cool for Spain, however, is its also globally renowned for some of the worst art restorations of all time.
You might remember in 2012 when a parishioner used to repair a flaking 1930s fresco of Jesus painted inside the church she goes to in northeast Spain, and, in spite of the fact that shes a leisure painter with no training whatsoever in art repair, the priest said, “This looks like an excellent concept, knock yourself out.”
Therefore, Ecce Homo became Monkey Jesus.

The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo in 1678 Europa Press through Getty Images
As initially reported by The Guardian, an art collector in Valencia paid a furnishings restorer around $1,400 to clean up a piece in their private collection, a copy of 17th century painting The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables. Considering the outstanding state the painting was already in, this shouldve been a fairly straight-forward task.
Other than this collector employed a furnishings conservator, which would be like employing your dads friend who restores vintage cars to, well, clean a coveted 17th century painting.
The outcome was, to use an art term, a goddamn nightmare. Europa Press via Getty Images I believe thats when the majority of us would toss in the towel, call the art collector, and be like, “Okay, do not seethe–” But no, the furniture-restorer-turned-art-destroyer chose that they might still repair this! So they provided it another go,
and made it a lot worse, somehow. Europa Press by means of Getty Images A lot of decisions led up to this point, none excellent.

Ecce Homo prior to the repair Elías García Martínez|Public Domain
The brought back work, now Monkey Jesus
AFP by means of Getty Images