AN AMATEUR artist’s attempt at renovating historic carvings featuring the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus have been met with shock and derision.
The 15th-century figures, previously part of a shrine in the Spanish village of Rañadoiro, were handed over to church parishioner, tobacco shop owner and amateur artist Maria Luisa Menendez to touch up.
Menendez quickly set about giving Mary, baby Jesus and Rañadorio's patron, St. Anne, a garish makeover complete with bright pink skin tones, neon robes, and quizzical eyebrows.
More bizarre still, the statues had already undergone one careful restoration, some 15 years ago, that had helped restore them to their former glory.
Almost all of that work has now been erased, however, after a local resident obtained the parish priest’s permission to freshen them up last summer.
The results are chronicled in this Spanish news report:
Speaking to The Guardian, professional restorer Luis Suárez Saro, who worked on the statues a decade-and-a-half ago, expressed shock at their new look.
"They’ve used the kind of industrial enamel paint they sell for painting anything and absolutely garish and absurd colours," he said.
"The result is just staggering. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry."
Saro believes an infrared examination of the statues should be undertaken to see the extent of the damage done by the new paint job and whether it can be removed without damaging the original relic.
De nuevo gritamos #SOSPatrimonio. ¿A nadie le importa este expolio continuado en nuestro país? ¿Qué tipo de sociedad permite pasiva que destruyan ante sus ojos el legado de sus antepasados? https://t.co/iCEqmxtvDc pic.twitter.com/PhW7BGfZGc
— ACRE (@A_CR_E) September 6, 2018
But despite the criticism, Menendez has stood by her artistic endeavours.
"I’m not a professional painter but I’ve always liked painting and the statues really needed painting," she told El Comercio newspaper.
"I painted them as best I could using what I thought were the right colours. The neighbours liked them too. Ask around here and you’ll find out."
The story comes just a few months after another depiction of Jesus courted controversy for somewhat more explicit reasons.