Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Monday 23 November |
Saint of the Day: Bl. Miguel Pro
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

Another botched restoration, this time on painting of the Immaculate Conception


Bartolomé Esteban Murillo/Public Domain (left) Photograph: Cedida por Coleccionista/Europa Press 2020/Fair Use

V. M. Traverso - published on 06/24/20

The features of Virgin Mary are unrecognizable in the restored version of a painting by the 17th-century painter Murillo.

In recent years, Spain has been the setting of world-famous botched restoration scandals, from the Ecce Homo painting turned into an ape-looking figure, to the Playmobil-looking restoration of Saint George and the Dragon. This time, the victim of a well-intention restoration gone bad is a 17th-century work by prominent Baroque painter Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. 

A private collector in Valencia asked a local restorer to “clean up” a copy of a work of Murillo titled “Immaculate Conception,” featuring a youthful looking Virgin Mary. But the “clean up” did not go as intended. The angelic facial features of the Virgin Mary have turned into an unrecognizable cartoon-like version of themselves. 

Experts are now calling for better regulation of art restoration to prevent further damage to works of art. 

In an interview with The Guardian, Fernando Carrera, former president of Spain’s Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators (ACRE), said that currently restorers who lack adequate skills are legally allowed to perform work on valuable works of art. 

“Let’s be honest: they’re bodgers who botch things up,” he said “They destroy things.”

Together with other art history experts, Carrera is calling for a review of regulations to require mandatory training for professional restorers.

“Paradoxically, it shows just how important professional restorers are,” he told the Guardian.

“We need to invest in our heritage, but even before we talk about money, we need to make sure that the people who undertake this kind of work have been trained in it.”

Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in eight languages: English, French, Arabic, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Zoe Romanowsky
20-year-old filmmaker wins award for powerful...
Theresa Civantos Barber
5 Quotes from the saints to help you deal wit...
Kathleen N. Hattrup
Learn to pray with Mary with these 12 insight...
Giuseppe Moscati
Larry Peterson
A volcano, a plague, a war: This doctor-saint...
J-P Mauro
Cardinal calls Catholics to attend global Euc...
Luz Ivonne Ream
What’s the secret of this couple’s 64 years o...
Philip Kosloski
Padre Pio's favorite prayer of petition
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.