You have probably all seen this by now.
Cecilia Gimenez, who is in her 80s, was reportedly upset at the way the fresco had deteriorated and took it on herself to “restore” the image.
She claimed to have had the permission of the priest to carry out the job.
The Beeb story describes the painting as a prized Jesus Christ fresco
Well no, not really. The church painting was no masterpiece, completed in two hours by a local man, Elias Garcia Martinez, just over a century ago. and as ArtwatchUK points out, the professional restorers are themselves rather good at destroying paintings in the name of conservation.
I would agree with that view for when I saw the finished ‘restoration’ of Las Meninas in the Prado, having seen it many times before it was cleaned, I was astounded that anyone could leave such a tacky looking mess and claim to have restored it to its original state.
Conservators are not artists and, as in the case of Las Meninas, in trying to remove the grime and old varnish, they cannot help but remove many layers of the fine transparent glazes which are usually what gives a painting its magical quality.
Such glazes are applied again and again, maybe 20 or 30 times and often more, to enhance the subtlety of the colour in the shadows etc. until the artist feels that he has achieved the desired effect.
However, all is not lost and irony saves the day. There is now a petition to ‘save’ the lady’s handiwork. And why not? It does have a certain quality to it and is certainly better than most of the rubbish produced by the State sponsored ‘approved’ usual suspects. Yes, I’m looking at you Damien, Gormless, Wally, Amey Cretin and all the rest of you