Photo: Antonio Capel Artista/Facebook

Spanish Statue Nicknamed ‘Potato Head’ Joins the Club of Botched Art Restorations

Spain News Art + Architecture
by Eben Diskin Nov 12, 2020

Art restorations are intended to return artworks to their former glory without compromising the integrity of the piece. Unfortunately, some don’t quite go as planned.

A statue in Palencia, Spain, depicting a smiling woman set in the facade of a bank was originally unveiled in 1923. It recently underwent “restoration” that left it looking deformed.

Botched restoration of Spanish statue

Photo: Antonio Capel Artista/Facebook

Instead of a smiling woman, the statue has a seemingly melted face with two round cavities for eyes, a misshapen lump for a nose, and a surprised-looking mouth — a hideous appearance some have nicknamed to “potato head.”

Local artist Antonio Capel noticed the restoration at the end of last week and uploaded pictures to Facebook. His caption read, “It looks like a cartoon character.”

It’s still unclear who actually worked on the piece, but crowds have been gathering outside the bank to take pictures for the past few days.

Capel told CNN that he doesn’t know why nonprofessional restorers are allowed to work on projects like these. “I don’t understand why they allow it,” he said. “It doesn’t seem normal to me.”

virgin mary

Left: The original, from a copy of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s work. Right: The two restoration attempts by an amateur. (Photo: Cedida por Coleccionista/Europa Press 2020)

This botched restoration certainly isn’t the first of its kind in Spain. Back in January, a Virgin Mary painting — “The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables” — was also the victim of an unprofessional restoration, resulting in Mary’s face looking more like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

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