The “Monkey Christ” is one of the funniest images in history, even though—and maybe in part because—it was only made possible through a monumental fuck-up of an art restoration project. While nothing else will likely ever reach the great heights achieved by that surprised-looking macaque savior, we are kind of, sort of pleased to present a new contender for most impressive botch job: A Bartolomé Esteban Murillo that’s been turned from a depiction of the Immaculate Conception into a baroque ode to Mr. Potato Head.
The Guardian details how Murillo’s The Immaculate Conception Of Los Venerables gained its exciting new life as a gorgeous display of ineptitude. The piece was brought to a furniture restorer by its owner in Valencia, Spain, and, for the low, low price of just €1,200 was messed all the way up over two different attempts. The wisdom of hiring a furniture restorer to work on a roughly 400 year-old painting is suspect in itself, and the fallout of the botch job has been a call from cultural institutions in Spain to introduce measures that stop amateurs from being able to paint over art history with doodles of pseudo-human faces.
The Royal Academy Of Arts’ Twitter account helped reinforce why this might be an important step by asking the internet to take their own stab at restoring the painting.
The results include the Royal Academy’s own lay-up of an image along with submissions that turn the painting into tributes to other great works of art, like Dragonball Z, that Ronaldo statue, and Mr. Bean.
There are many other great alternate restorations to check out, including ones that feature rodent heads and spa facials, but none of them, no matter how stupid looking, compare to what the furniture restorer managed to do to the piece in what we can only assume was a long, drawn-out “oh shit” moment of historic proportions.
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