A 500-year-old wooden statue of Saint George riding a horse, located in the town of Estella, Spain, was given a much-needed restoration recently, but art lovers, both in Spain and abroad, are not exactly thrilled with the results.
According to The New York Times, a local company specializing in furniture repair, and arts and crafts for children, was given the job. Which makes sense as the finished version looks a lot like a child in a costume riding a merry-go-round horse.
De nuevo en España se vuelve a destrozar una obra de arte. Esta imagen es de San Jorge y del siglo XVI de San Miguel de Estella (Navarra). Curioso que los jefes contraten a semejantes restauradores, a lo mejor se tendrían que restaurar los jefes que los contratan ¿No? pic.twitter.com/G9iyLidgPr
— Xavi Escaned (@escaned) June 26, 2018
“Once again in Spain, a work of art is destroyed again.” A Barcelona man ranted on Twitter, “This image is of San Jorge and of the XVI century of San Miguel de Estella (Navarra). Curious that the bosses hire such restorers, maybe they would have to restore the bosses that hire them, right?” [Translated from Spanish]
The “Once again” most likely refers to a well know 2012 restoration of painting of Jesus Christ—Ecce Homo—by a woman named Cecilia Giménez. That particular restoration was so bad it became a huge internet meme, and eventually led to the “restoration” being mocked on Saturday Night Live.
Others agreed that the statue restoration was reminiscent of the Giménez work.
— Isrrael Villablanca (@loockito) June 26, 2018
— Hugh (@hughiechops) June 27, 2018
Although, as pointed out by NPR reporter Camila Domonoske, the statue restoration was done by a professional company hired by the church, whereas Cecilia Giménez was an 81-year-old, somewhat overzealous, parishioner who was trying to help.
“I don’t think it was done with malice,” Estella mayor Koldo Leoz said of the company who repainted the Saint George statue, “but they obviously have not acted responsibly with the treasure they had in their possession.”
The newly painted statue has also drawn comparisons to some famous cartoon characters, including Woody from Toy Story.
Disney también está comprando a los ecce homo. Por ahora tiene ya a San Jorge de la Estrella y lo ha restaurado. pic.twitter.com/rnApW1hJ5D
— Las crónicas de Deckard (@cronicasdeckard) June 26, 2018
Nuevas fuentes informan que la restauradora del San Jorge de Estella es muy fan de Tintín… pic.twitter.com/2ZtaRyqxNi
— franXu (@panse1981) June 26, 2018
And even Lego Knights.
San Jorge de Estella
— 🇪🇸M30Norte🇪🇸 (@M30Norte) June 26, 2018
“I saw photographs of the atrocity they were committing,” said Carmen Usúa, the owner of a restoration company near the church. “As a professional, I feel disconcerted and very offended. It takes years to acquire the skills necessary to carry out these kinds of restorations, so imagine the frustration when something like this happens.”
“We have experts examining the statue now to see whether the damage can be undone,” Mayor Leoz told the Times. “It’s possible the detail of the armor and original colors have been lost forever.”
Possible, but not certain. After all, if a Roman saint can’t slay a dragon, certainly there’s hope that an artist can restore a statue to its former glory. All it will take is a miracle.
H/T New York Times