A furniture restorer reportedly attempted to fix up a copy of a painting of the Virgin Mary, but left it badly disfigured instead.
  • A copy of a famous Baroque painting of the Virgin Mary has been badly disfigured after a furniture restorer attempted to clean it, the owner told Europa Press.
  • The disastrous attempt drew instant comparisons to that of Elías García Martínez's "Ecce Homo," which was mangled by an untrained parishioner in 2012 and has since been dubbed "Potato Jesus."
  • Spain's Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators has called for regulation over art restoration in the country, and said such botched efforts by amateurs were nothing but "vandalism."
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

An effort to clean a copy of a Baroque painting of the Virgin Mary ended with yet another botched artwork that looks comically disfigured and nothing like the original.

A private art collector in Spain paid a furniture restorer to clean a copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo's "The Immaculate Conception of El Escorial," according to Europa Press, a Spanish-language news outlet.

The collector was shocked when he saw the finished product, and has found a trained specialist to restore the piece, the collector told the news outlet.

The mishap drew instant comparisons to the infamous "restoration" of Elías García Martínez's "Ecce Homo" in 2012, when a fresco depicting Jesus was left horrifically mangled after an untrained parishioner attempted to fix it up.

The ill-fated project is now a major tourist attraction for the small Spanish town of Borja, and the artwork has become known as "Potato Jesus" or "Monkey Christ."

Spain's Professional Association of Restorers and Conservators (ACRE) told Europa Press in Spanish that the blunders are "unfortunately much more frequent than you think." The group condemned restoration attempts from non-professional, untrained individuals and called for the industry to implement regulations.

ACRE said in a statement that the group was unfamiliar with the art collector who owned the Murillo copy, nor whether the copy was authentic. The group urged people not to poke fun at the incident since it could represent a serious threat to valuable artwork and Spain's cultural heritage.

"Should the facts be confirmed, we would have to regret, once again, the loss of a Cultural Asset," ACRE's statement said. "We all must be alarmed to think that our Heritage [is] disappearing because these disastrous actions."

The group also asked that the media not refer to the incident as a "restoration," since it "causes confusion on who are the skilled professionals coherently exercising this activity." ACRE said the act was not restoration, but "vandalism."

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