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Amateur Restorer Paints 15th Century Statue

Friday, September 14, 2018

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A 15th-century carved wooden statue depicting the Virgin Mary, baby Jesus and Saint Anne recently underwent a transformation—an amateur artist used bright, almost neon-colored industrial enamel paint to liven up the appearances of the holy figures.

Local tobacco shop owner María Luisa Menéndez was the artist; she also painted two other figures of Saint Peter and a second Virgin Mary.

Statue Restoration

Adjustments to the statues, housed in the town chapel of Rañadorio in northwest Spain, include a green-haired Virgin Mary, with Saint Anne sporting eyeliner. Menéndez said that the clergy gave her permission to do the work.

“I’m not a professional painter but I’ve always liked painting and the statues really needed painting,” Menéndez said. “I painted them as best I could using what I thought were the right colors. The neighbors liked them too. Ask around here and you’ll find out.”

A professional restored the statues 15 years ago. According to artnet News, the restorer did not paint the trinity statue because it had not been painted in the first place.

“They’ve used the kind of industrial enamel paint they sell for painting anything and absolutely garish and absurd colors,” said Luis Suárez Saro, the original restorer. “The result is just staggering. You don’t know whether to laugh or cry.”

During Saro’s work, the statues underwent an infrared examination to determine the extent of the damage while also checking to see if the original polychrome paint on the other statues could be restored.

A spokesperson for the archbishop of Oviedo told the Guardian that the church was too busy preparing for a feast to comment on what had happened to the statues. In Saro’s eyes, the neon-colored painting is symptomatic of a larger problem: “a lack of sensitivity towards art in its original state,” he said.


Tagged categories: Europe; Historic Preservation; Maintenance + Renovation; Paint; Paint application; Restoration

Comment from john lienert, (9/14/2018, 5:26 AM)

looks like the plaster of paris statues at tijuana border crossing....oops

Comment from Steve Belzak, (9/14/2018, 10:46 AM)

Its a shame.

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