Religious artifacts have yet again fallen prey to amateur artists wanting to jazz them up with, for example, a fresh coat of vibrant paint. The latest incident arose in El Ranadoiro, a small town in Spain’s Asturias region.
Sculptures in an El Ranadoiro chapel dating back to the 15th and 16th centuries received a makeover from local Maria Luisa Menendez, one of just 28 residents living in the town. She reportedly received permission from the parish priest to paint the figures, according to newspaper El Comercio.
After Menendez was through, the wooden sculptures of Saint Anne, the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus and Saint Peter were painted in fuchsia, pistachio green, sky blue and bordeaux red. Aside from being painted with serious side-eyes, the Virgin got a new green hairdo.
La restauración de Rañadoiro… Una crack.
La virgen con el pelo verde, simplemente sublime. pic.twitter.com/AvyE6lN4ZX
— Aitor Carbajo (@MAcOs_LuCas) September 7, 2018
Photos shared on social media by critics of the so-called restoration even suggest that lil baby Jesus might be getting ready to join a football team. Say hello to soccer games on the weekends, Mary!
Otro caso, esta vez en #Rañadoiro
El equipo de fútbol del Niño Jesús aún por asignar. pic.twitter.com/SBzHX2cAxQ
— Beatrix Kiddo (@Soy_Mamba_Negra) September 7, 2018
El niño Jesús de la restauración de Rañadoiro me representa. pic.twitter.com/Us96rFFYPN
— Albertín RP (@AlbertoRamosPre) September 7, 2018
“I’m not a professional painter, but I always liked to do it,” newspaper La Rioja quoted Menendez saying. “And the figures really needed to be painted. So I painted them as I could, with the colors that looked good to me, and the neighbours liked it.”
While the neighbors might be hip to the new groove, not everyone is thrilled. Genaro Alonso, the principality’s education adviser, told the Efe news agency that the work was more of a “vengeance rather than a restoration.” He’s since called for an investigation into the matter.
“Las figuras estaban horrorosas, así que las quise arreglar”. Una vecina de Rañadoiro pinta 3 tallas románicas del siglo XV.
Un nuevo atentado al Patrimonio. Pero eso sí, con “buena intención” pic.twitter.com/plA9N8keTs
— El Historicón (@ElHistoricon) September 7, 2018
This incident comes months after a 16th century wooden sculpture of Saint George got its own makeover in June. Over yonder in the northern Spanish town of Estella, George’s new look earned similar critiques as town officials looked on, completely horrified at how the figure ended up transforming into a depiction of character Tintin.
De nuevo en España se vuelve a destrozar una obra de arte. Esta imagen es de San Jorge y del siglo XVI de San Miguel de Estella (Navarra). Curioso que los jefes contraten a semejantes restauradores, a lo mejor se tendrían que restaurar los jefes que los contratan ¿No? pic.twitter.com/G9iyLidgPr
— Xavi Escaned (@escaned) June 26, 2018
Nuevas fuentes informan que la restauradora del San Jorge de Estella es muy fan de Tintín… pic.twitter.com/2ZtaRyqxNi
— franXu (@panse1981) June 26, 2018
Spain previously sent officials into a fit in 2012 when the restoration of the fresco “Ecce Homo” wound up looking like a kindergartener’s watercolor painting. While many critics quickly labeled it an unholy mistake at the time, the work of amateur painter Cecilia Gimenez has since allowed the small village in Borja to turn a profit, thanks to tourists wanting to catch a glimpse.
Only time will tell if El Ranadoiro will see such a success with its own “masterpiece.”