16th Century Spanish St. George Receives Latest Amateur Facelift

Image: Screencap (ABC)

One might think that after the global reaction to the infamous “Ecco Homo Monkey Christ” fresco restoration, nobody but a professional would ever attempt—much less be invited to attempt—restoration of centuries-old church artwork. One would be wrong!

The Guardian reported on the latest well-meaning botch job, which makes it look like St. George is on that good skincare kick, just like the rest of us:

An attempt to freshen up the 16th-century polychrome statue has left St George with a rosy pink face and a bold, red-and-grey suit of armour. The restoration is believed to have been carried out by a handicrafts teacher at the request of the parish authorities of the Church of St Michael.

The mayor of Estella, which lies south-west of Pamplona in the Navarre region, is demanding to know why the council was not consulted before the work went ahead.

Koldo Leoz told the Guardian: “The parish decided on its own to take action to restore the statue and gave the job to a local handicrafts teacher. The council wasn’t told and neither was the regional government of Navarre.”


Meanwhile church authorities say it wasn’t their bad, either. Via El Pais: “Sources at the Pamplona archbishop’s office told the news agency EFE on Monday that the parish priest did not intend for the sculpture to get redone: ‘He just wanted to clean up a space that was dirty.’” Whoops all around!

The Association of Conservators and Restorers of Spain has issued a statement blasting the effort, saying it “shows a frightening lack of training of the kind required for this sort of job.” The organization is currently calling out the restoration, both with this flyer:

And also this:


ACRE regularly campaigns against just this sort of amateur-hour effort. Apparently instances crop up with some regularity—although most of them aren’t as spectacular as Ecce Homo Monkey Christ and this pink-cheeked, slightly vacant St. George, who looks less like he’s off to slay a dragon than he’s trying to remember his forgotten grocery list. Please enjoy this Spanish news report on the disaster, which is a sad act of accidental cultural vandalism but also just the 1,536th worst thing to happen this week so it’s fine to laugh.

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