These two 18th century church statues have been so “damaged” by a “self-taught painter” they have even been compared to the botched Ecce Homo fresco that was famously touched up by a cleaning lady.
According to reports, the statues of Mary of Egypt and Saint Joseph, on display at the Church of Setefilla in the town of Lora del Rio in the province of Seville located in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia, were restored by local artist Juan Jose Negri.
According to Negri, the “self-taught” painter was approached by church heads because he has “restored over 20 sculptures without ever having a teacher or attending classes”.
However, history professor Jesus Romanov slammed the restoration for causing “serious damage” to the 18th-century sculptures, and even compared them to the now-infamous Ecce Homo painting in Borja that was touched up by cleaning lady Cecilia Gimenez.
Ironically, the botched Borja painting went on to make international headlines, helping to turn the Sanctuary of Mercy church into a tourist attraction, and even inspired a Broadway show.
Romanov said: “We are faced with the same situation as Ecce Homo in Borja and Saint George and the Dragon in Estella (in the northern Spanish region of Navarre).
“We hope the new paint job can be removed and restoration professionals can redo this unfortunate intervention.”
He added: “Where was the Archbishop of Seville’s art commission? Where was the Andalusian government’s culture department? Is anyone in charge of the city council’s heritage projects?”
Meanwhile, Negri defended his efforts on social media, saying: “My feelings have been hurt, but I will bounce back stronger.”
However, one bar owner is happy with the controversial statues’ restoration, telling local media: “It is bringing people into the bars!”
The restoration of the statue of San Jorge (Saint George) at the church of San Miguel of Estella, in the northern Spanish region of Navarre made headlines around the world.
Local priest Jose Miguel reportedly decided to ask a schoolteacher if she could take the time to restore it.
The woman, named in local media simply as Carmen and who reportedly teaches arts and crafts at a local school, was happy to help out and the result was later unveiled to the horror of locals.
Koldo Leoz, the Mayor of Estella, admitted that the “restoration has left a lot to be desired as it is an artwork from the 16th Century and, if nothing else, care should have been taken of the materials used for the restoration.”