Tag Archives: ACRE

Failed restoration of a copy of a Murillo painting makes headlines, once again raising the problem of insufficient regulation of art conservation in Spain

Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s original work (left) and two attempts at restoring a copy of it. Photograph: Cedida por Coleccionista/Europa Press 2020

News outlets across the globe have shared the story of another failed restoration in Spain. The work was a copy of Murillo’s The Immaculate Conception of El Escorial, and the original remains unscathed at the Prado. It is important to note that the viral image above is slightly misleading, as it compares the two ‘restored’ versions (right) to Murillo’s original painting (left), rather than to the copy before the restoration effort.

The copied painting belongs to a private art collector in Valencia, who had hired a furniture restorer to clean the work. The collector has now asked another specialist to attempt to fix the botched restoration.

The Association of Conservators and Restorers in Spain (ACRE) has released a statement, stating that they ‘regret once again the loss of a cultural asset and, under these circumstances, we request not to take this instance as a social media source of fun, as happened already formerly. Moreover, we all must be alarmed to think that our heritage is disappearing because of these disastrous actions’. They also emphasize that ‘no professional technician with an official academic training would perform such an attempt against cultural heritage’. They warn against the lack of regulations for art conservation in Spain, which ‘allows unskilled people intervening on [art], facing, at best, mere administrative penalties’.

Information for this post was culled from: The Guardian, The New York Times, The BBC, Artnet, and Europa Press (in Spanish)