World Do you remember Ecce Homo and the statue of...

Do you remember Ecce Homo and the statue of S. Jorge? There is another defaced image in Spain – Observer


The most popular of the cases takes us back until 2012, when the intervention of an 80-year-old parishioner traveled the world due to the unexpected result in the painting Ecce Homo, by Elías García Martinez, a fresco that adorned the walls in the sanctuary of Borja. After that episode in Zaragoza, which originated hundreds of memes, new news of the kind would arrive in June 2018 – again from the neighboring country.

The subject matter was then the image of São Jorge, mounted on his horse to fight the dragon, and who was then the victim of an “excessive” restoration, and the use of the word restoration requires some consideration. The 500-year-old piece is in the church of San Miguel de Estella, in Navarra, it was restored without authorization from the Historical Heritage Service of the region, and it went around the world again, given the competition that it offered to the 2012 mishap.

The original São Jorge image, the amateur restoration, and the new professional restoration already done (images from the Historical Patrimony Service of Navarra)

Arriving in June 2020, there is yet another unsuccessful intervention to give rise to, and to lead the Association of Conservatives and Restoration of Spain to regret what happened, and asking for stricter regulation to care for the good name of the class and, above all, to avoid the ruin of works like these, in any of the aforementioned cases delivered to the hands of amateurs, or at least of unskilled craftsmen. They also ask that the subject not be converted “into a reason for media and social entertainment”, similar to the viral character that took on the feat of 2012, authored by Cecilia Giménez who tried with her own hand to fix the harmful effects of humidity in Ecce Homo , work dated 1930.

In 2012, the result of the intervention in the Ecce Homo project by a parishioner ran the world © DR

The most recent flop does not involve an individual initiative on a public good, therefore assuming less prominence, even ignoring the value of the board. This is a private collector based in Valencia, who was “astonished” when he checked the final result in a copy by the Baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo (1617-1682). The news was advanced by Europa Press, which also counts as the painting’s owner paid 1,200 euros for cleaning the canvas with the image of the Immaculate Conception, having resorted to the services of a specialist in … furniture restoration. Despite two attempts to rectify the outcome of the process, the images now appear totally uncharacterized.

“It totally loses its meaning and value”, vented the collector, whose identity was not revealed, to Europa Press after the attempt to recover the original features of the Virgin, in the aftermath of the intervention in this piece with 120 by 80 cm. Dating from the beginning of the 20th century, it is part of a family collection and has been in its possession since 2006. Darkened by time, the owner entrusted the fate of its cleaning to a trusted person who had known “since always”, and who had taken care of his furniture successfully, rejecting that he thus opted for a more economical and less specialized version.

The original and the two restoration attempts

The original and the two restoration attempts. Europa-Press

A first approach immediately resulted in an unexpected result and the second opportunity granted did not bring a better image. “It got worse and worse,” admitted the Valencian collector, with his face and hands being the most affected parts of the canvas. “This gentleman as a furniture restorer is very good, but not as a restorer of paintings. These are very different things ”, the owner of the copy now admits.


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