An art collector in Spain was left shocked after their painting of the Virgin Mary was ruined by a botched restoration.
The owner of the painting - a copy of the Immaculate Conception, a famous 17th Century painting by the baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo - was reportedly charged €1,200 (£1,085) to have the painting cleaned by a furniture restorer.
However, while the painting may have ended up cleaner, it also ended up completely ruined. The restorer inadvertently disfigured the Virgin Mary's face, and in an attempt to correct their error, only made her even more unrecognisable.
The art collector, from Valencia, is now planning on taking the painting to a specialist to see if they can correct it, but the case has led to fresh calls for greater regulation of art restorations.
Numerous amateur restorations have made headlines in recent years, including the infamous case of a parishioner's attempt to restore a painting of Christ in 2012 - which went so badly wrong that the painting was dubbed 'Monkey Christ'.
The vice president of the Professional Association of Conservative Restorers of Spain (ACRE), María Borja, said calamitous restorations like this were 'unfortunately much more frequent than you think'.
Speaking to Europa Press, she said: "We only know the cases that society denounces through the press or social networks, but there are a multitude of situations where the works are intervened by people without training. The works undergo this type of non-professional intervention, and can cause change irreversible.
"Heritage law itself does not specifically oblige or recommend that interventions be carried out by professionals trained in conservation-restoration. This legislative lack leads to disastrous interventions that from time to time they come, especially alarms when it comes to Romanesque carvings or Renaissance images of great value.
"It is important to have professionals, because the pieces have to be studied individually, they are unique pieces, with a historical, cultural and emotional value, the materials must be reversible and there must be didactic work for the owners of the goods, of course, a guarantee of a job well done, with rigour and professional ethics."
Fernando Carrera, a professor at the Galician School for the Conservation and Restoration of Cultural Heritage, said the problem is that 'some politicians just don't give a t*ss about heritage', resulting in a lack of funding.
Speaking to The Guardian, he said: "I don't think this guy - or these people - should be referred to as restorers. Let's be honest: they're bodgers who botch things up. They destroy things.
"Paradoxically, it shows just how important professional restorers are. We need to invest in our heritage, but even before we talk about money, we need to make sure that the people who undertake this kind of work have been trained in it."
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