Famous painting of Virgin Mary left unrecognizable after botched art restoration

The Immaculate Conception (circa 1660–1665) by baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo was reportedly cleaned by a furniture collector for €1,200, according to The Guardian. But despite two efforts to restore the work to its original state, the face of the Virgin Mary is now unrecognizable — causing outrage in the Spanish art conservation community and beyond.

The cleaning was done for a private art collector in Valencia.

On social media, the Murillo repair was inevitably compared to other disappointing art restorations from recent years — such as 2012 work on Ecce Homo fresco of Jesus Christ dubbed “Monkey Jesus,” or work on a 16th-century wooden Saint George statue, which in 2018 was described as resembling a cartoon character.


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