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When Art Restoration Goes Horribly Wrong

This is not the kind of face lift the church had in mind.

What you need to know
  • The wooden carving of Saint George is over 500 years old
  • The sculpture was 'restored' by a local craft store owner
  • The parish priest insists he requested for the sculpture to be cleaned, not restored

A 500-year-old Spanish sculpture has been essentially destroyed by an art teacher's botched attempt to restore it.

The  16th-century wooden sculpture of Saint George has taken pride of place in the small Church Of Saint Michael in the Northern Spanish town of Estella, when the parish priest decided it was time to spruce up the valuable artefact and requested for it to be cleaned.

The owner of the local craft store and part of the group Karmacolor was assigned the job and without consulting the local council or the regional government of Navarre, he went to work and attempted to restore the sculpture.

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Image: noticias de Navarra

Not surprisingly, the result by the amateur craft enthusiast was a massive fail with the end result looking more cartoonish than holy.

Attempts to correct the botched restoration are unlikely as the sculpture was reportedly sanded back and covered with plaster before adding a fresh coat of paint.

When Art Restoration Goes Horribly Wrong

While the internet might be laughing, locals are reportedly outraged and Estella's mayor Koldo Leoz isn't laughing. He said the church did not make him aware of the plan.

"This is an expert job it should have been done by experts," he told The Guardian.

"It's not been the kind of restoration that it should have been for this 16th-century statue. They've used plaster and the wrong kind of paint and it's possible that the original layers of paint have been lost," he continued.

The result was more Mr Bean than a saint.

The disastrous attempt has drawn comparisons to the 2012 Spanish art restoration fiasco, when Cecilia Gimenez decided to touch up a nineteenth century mural of Jesus Christ hanging in the Santuario  de la Misericordia.

The result took the internet by storm and was dubbed "Monkey Christ" spawning dozens of memes and making the small town of Borja's a must see for tourists.

READ MORE: Meet The Giant Panda Making Big Bucks For Her Artworks

Contact the author: ncarroll@networkten.com.au