murillo conservation fail image

This week there was yet another news story of a botched art restoration in Spain. A copy of baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables has turned its angelic Virgin Mary into a blob with red lips.

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Elías García Martínez, Ecce Homo (1930), and Cecilia Giménez’s infamous 2012 restoration attempt.

This of course was a reminder of the viral “Beast Jesusrestoration fail of 2012 of Jesus on the fresco of a church in Borja, Spain, which was the disastrous efforts of local resident Cecilia Giménez (at the time 82 year old church parishioner). In a humorous reversal the fresco has now turned into a tourist destination, because it so bad it’s famous.

This latest attempt by an amateur restorer is prompting experts in Spain to call for more stringent regulations.

The anonymous owner of the marred Murillo work paid €1,200 ($1,350) for it to be cleaned by a furniture restorer, Europa Press reported, and was outraged when not one, but two attempts resulted in a complete disfiguration.

Which brings me to the point of art conservation, when done by a professional should maintain the original integrity of the artist’s work. It’s always important to see examples of the conservator’s work before and after as well. Keeping your artwork in good condition is important to the maintaining the overall value of the art. In the standard practice of appraisal we consider the condition of the artworks in reaching our evaluation conclusion. Always seek professional recommendations for any art conservation needs.


What is Art Conservation:
Art conservation includes principles and practices of technical examination, documentation, and treatment for objects of material culture. The intention of art conservation is to improve the condition of an artifact by stabilizing physical condition problems and addressing surface disfigurement arising from deterioration and/or damage. In doing so, the art conservator strives to retain as much original material as possible and to employ the best quality materials and the most carefully considered methods available.

At times a conservation treatment also requires restoration, which is defined as the preparation and incorporation of replacement parts and surface finishes (i.e. ‘compensation for losses’) to allow proper visual interpretation of an art object and to recapture an acceptable esthetic appearance. Professional art conservators will always be glad to discuss their approaches and available options for the restoration component of a conservation treatment with you.

Another often-used term is preservation, which encompasses all of the varied activities involved in preventing damage and reducing the rate of deterioration for art objects, collections, and structures. Professional art conservators provide services related to preservation issues including display methods, archival quality storage solutions, environmental condition challenges, pest management, and packing for transportation. (Source)