New botched restoration gives 500-year-old St George statue a cartoon face

Fiona Govan
Fiona Govan - [email protected]
New botched restoration gives 500-year-old St George statue a cartoon face
Before and after. Photo: KarmaColour/facebook

One would think that after all the furore over the botched restoration of a priceless fresco of Christ by an amateur painter well into her 80s that those tempted to pick up a paintbrush to touch up an ancient artwork in Spain might think twice.


But apparently not.

A new restoration disaster is making headlines in Spain after it emerged that a rather weathered and worn-out wooden statue of Saint George upon his steed that had stood in a corner of a small church in Navarra had suffered the indignity of a rather garish paint job.

The famous dragon-slayer now sports a cross-eyed, slack-jawed expression on his cartoon-style face as he gormlessly stares out beneath his knight’s helmet.


It has been dubbed the new Ecce Homo, in reference to the now infamous attempts by 80-something year old, Cecilia Giménez, who decided to touch-up a painting in her local chapel.

The disastrous repair made headlines across the world, brought tourists flocking to the small Aragon town of Borja and even inspired an opera.

The orginal work by Elias Garcia had deterioated before the botched restoration Photo: AFP

So far, the restoration of the 14th Century St. George stature has only brought indignation. Not least from parish authorities in charge of the Church of Saint Michael in Estella, a town in Navarra.

Church managers had enlisted help from a local arts-and-crafts group to clean up the statue but were appalled to see the final result.

“The local priest just wanted to clean up a neglected space,” sources at Pamplona’s archbishop’s office said on Monday.

Spain’s art conservation association ACRE said it would file a legal complaint over the “unfortunate intervention” that had “destroyed part of Navarra’s cultural heritage”.

Ana Herrera, the head of cultural affairs at the regional government of Navarra complained that a permit should have been applied for.

“The restoration project should have been approved by authorities before work began,” she said.

Karmacolor, the company charged with the restoration work, had uploaded a video to Facebook detailing the project step-by-step but has since removed the post and has not publicly responded to the criticism.

READ ALSO: This is what happened when Spain restored an ancient Moorish castle



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