A Spanish art collector has slammed a restorer who botched his classical painting of the Virgin Mary – leaving her face looking ‘unrecognisable’.
The fine art copy was of a famous 17th century painting known as The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables by the baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo.
Now the Christian deity has been left looking more like a “potato Madonna” according to one commentator writing in The Cut.
The painting’s Valenci-based owner was said to have paid over £1,000 to have it restored, yet was left looking more like a child’s handiwork, despite two attempts to fix it by a furniture restorer.
Now art historians are calling for a ban on amateur restorers from going near art works.
Conservation expert Fernando Carrera, a professor at the Galician School for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, said that such work should only be performed by trained painters.
He told The Guardian: “I don’t think this guy, or these people – should be referred to as restorers… they’re bodgers who botch things up. They destroy things.”
Carrera, a former president of Spain’s Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators , added: “Can you imagine just anyone being allowed to operate on other people? Or someone being allowed to sell medicine without a pharmacist’s licence? Or someone who’s not an architect being allowed to put up a building?”
He also hit out at the government for allowing the country’s heritage to be destroyed, adding politicians “just don’t give a t*ss about heritage.”
The incident is similar to the infamous botching of a fresco of Jesus which made headlines in 2012.
Pensioner Cecilia Giménez, then 82, turned the 100-year-old prized art work, known as Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez into a monster.
In response locals dubbed the results the “hedgehog or monkey” or “beast Jesus”.
The grandmother claimed to have had the permission of the priest to carry out the work.
Mrs Giménez told Spanish TV: ‘We have always repaired everything ourselves here. The priest knew about it. Of course he did.
‘How could I do something like that without permission? I did not do it in secret. Anybody who entered the church was able to see me painting.
‘I had nothing but good intentions and always believed I was doing the right thing. Besides, I hadn’t finished the painting!’
The identity of the latest restorer has not been revealed.