Saturday, May 18, 2019

Restoration Fails, part 1


According to the Oxford Dictionary, restoration means the action of returning something to a former owner, place, or condition. 

Sometimes an intended restoration just makes the item worse. 

Here are some restoration fails. 

Ecce Homo is a fresco in the small village of Borja, Spain, painted in 1930 by Elías García Martínez. 

“Ecco Homo” means “behold the man”, the Latin words used by Pontius Pilate in the Vulgate translation of the Gospel of John, when he presents a scourged Jesus Christ, bound and crowned with thorns, to a hostile crowd shortly before his Crucifixion. The scene has been widely depicted in Christian art. 

In 2012 local resident and parishioner Cecilia Gimenez, 81, decided to offer her services as an amateur art restorer to fix the deteriorating work of art. The work wasn’t well known before the attempted restoration but became world wide news after Cecilia tackled it, so much so that it became known as “Ecco Mono”, “behold the monkey”. 

But the something amazing happened. 

Although Spain had been experiencing a crippling recession, tourists flocked to the town to view the botched work. In the year following the failed restoration, tourist activity generated 40,000 visits, increasing to nearly 200,000 by 2016. The church now charges admission and uses the money to fund an old people’s home. Cecilia receives 49 percent of souvenir sales, which she who uses it to care for her 56-year-old son who has cerebral palsy. 

Tourists scoop up “Ecce Homo” souvenirs from $2 pens to $7 mugs to $4-$11 bottles of wine. 

Some Ecce Homo memes . . . 

Halloween costume. 


The most recent conservation-restoration of the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel between 1980 and 1994 was one of the most significant conservation-restorations of the 20th century. However, although the restoration removed layers of soot and grime, brought back a lot of colour and revealed details not shown for centuries, some art critics believe the restoration to have been unsuccessful. 

One case in point: Michelangelo’s technique included adding details to surfaces already painted, such as corrections and details of eyes. When the restoration was carried out, the restorers touched the top layer of the frescoes, thereby removing the details of the eyes, notably the eye balls.

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