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This Is Why You Shouldn't Attempt to 'Restore' a Rare Painting That You Weren't Asked to Fix


One woman's well-intentioned decision to touch-up a badly damaged fresco painting, to put it gently, didn't go so well. As you can see from the image above, what started out as a beautiful depiction of Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns, now resembles some sort of mythical beast or extra-terrestrial being -- either way, the new image is unsettling.

As Gawker points out, the leftmost image is what the painting looked like two years ago; the middle image is how it looked in July when it was photographed for a religious art catalog; and the rightmost image is how it looks now after the attempted restoration.

The alterations were reportedly made by an elderly Spanish woman in her 80s who also happens to be a neighbor of the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Borja, Spain -- the church where the painting was proudly displayed. She apparently noticed the damage to painting and decided she would do a good deed and fix it. However, the amateur restorer realized -- obviously, well into her work -- that she "had gotten out of hand" and confessed to local authorities.

Gawker has more details on the painting:

A couple of weeks ago, the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Borja, Spain, received a donation from the granddaughter of 19th-century painter Elías García Martínez. At the time, the Centro knew of only one painting by Martínez in Borja — Ecce Homo, a fresco on the walls of the church of Santuario de Misericordia.

[...] The leftmost image is how the painting looked two years ago; the middle image is how it looked in July, when it was photographed for a catalog of regional religious art. The image on right is how it looked when the Centro went to check it out on August 6th after receiving the donation. Hmm.

Perhaps we could give the old lady an "A" for effort? Sometimes it's best to leave it to professionals... Or at least wait to be asked before you attempt to restore a rare, old painting.

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