Bartolomé Esteban Murillo became the latest in a long line of artworks to suffer a damaging and disfiguring repair.
A private art collector in Valencia was reportedly charged €1,200 by a furniture restorer to have the picture of the Immaculate Conception cleaned. However, the job did not go as planned and the face of the Virgin Mary was left unrecognisable despite two attempts to restore it to its original state.
The case has inevitably resulted in comparisons with the infamous which broke news of the Murillo repair, she added: “We only find out about them when people report them to the press or on social media, but there are numerous situation when works are undertaken by people who aren’t trained.”
Non-professional interventions, Borja added, “mean that artworks suffer and the damage can be irreversible”.
Carrera said Spain had a huge amount of cultural and historical heritage because of all the different groups that have passed through the country over the centuries, leaving behind their marks and monuments.
Another part of the problem, he added, was that “some politicians just don’t give a toss about heritage”, meaning that Spain did not have the financial resources to safeguard all the treasures of its past. “We need to focus society’s attention on this so that it chooses representatives who put heritage on the agenda,” he said.
“It doesn’t have to be at the very top because it’s obviously not like healthcare or employment – there are many more important things. But this is our history.”
• The standfirst and picture caption on this article were amended on 24 June 2020 to clarify that the painting in question is a copy.