Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Don't be a busybody, obviously.

This doesn't fall into my usual miscellany of posts, but it deals with art and history, which I love, so here it is anyway. The following just made me sad and a little sick to my stomach.
Recently, the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Borja, Spain received a donation from the granddaughter of 19th-century painter Elías García Martínez, of one of her grandfather's paintings. There is only one other painting known by Martinez to exist. So, the version on the left is what the painting looked like a few years ago. The middle is how the painting looked in July upon being cataloged (looks like it had suffered possible humidity or water related damage). And the ghastly version on the right, I'm afraid that's real and what the painting looks like today. After the painting was donated, an elderly neighbor of the church took it upon herself to try to restore the painting, without asking permission by anyone in authority, without anyone in authority knowing she was doing it, without knowing anything about restoration work, and clearly without knowing a whole lot about painting. I just don't have words. How can you take a beautiful painting of Jesus and turn it into a melancholy hedgehog with a neck goiter?

(Here's the original article, in Spanish http://cultura.elpais.com/cultura/2012/08/21/actualidad/1345563468_581914.html and another in English http://gawker.com/5936665/heres-what-happened-when-an-elderly-man-took-it-upon-himself-to-restore-a-painting-in-a-nearby-church?comment=52055125)

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