Botched restoration of statue raises eyebrows

A 15th-century wooden statue in Spain has been repainted so that the Virgin Mary now has a bright pink headscarf and baby Jesus is clothed in a bright green robe.
A 15th-century wooden statue in Spain has been repainted so that the Virgin Mary now has a bright pink headscarf and baby Jesus is clothed in a bright green robe.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

MADRID • A parishioner in Spain has painted a 15th-century sculpture in garish colours, giving Jesus a bright green robe in the latest botched amateur art restoration to make headlines in the country.

A wooden statue of the Virgin Mary at the chapel in El Ranadoiro, a hamlet in the northern Asturias region that is home to just 28 people, was given a bright pink headscarf, sky blue robe and eyeliner. The previously plain wooden carving now features a young Jesus in a bright green robe. A separate statue of Saint Peter now has him in blood red garments.

The makeover has led to comparisons with the botched 2012 restoration by an elderly parishioner of the Ecce Homo fresco of Jesus Christ in Borja, which resembled a pale-faced ape with cartoon-style eyes.

"It's crazy," said Mr Luis Suarez Saro, who had previously restored the three El Ranadoiro sculptures.

The woman who carried out the latest restoration, local resident Maria Luisa Menendez, received permission from the parish priest to give them a fresh lick of paint, local newspaper El Comercio reported.

"I'm not a professional, but I always liked to do it, and the figures really needed to be painted. So I painted them with the colours that looked good to me, and the neighbours liked it," Ms Menendez told the daily.

Meanwhile, the botched restoration of the Ecce Homo fresco has become famous, with thousands of tourists now visiting Borja to see it.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on September 09, 2018, with the headline 'Botched restoration of statue raises eyebrows'. Print Edition | Subscribe