The older works of art get, the more delicate and valuable they are. But it just takes one heavy handed restorer to destroy priceless irreplaceable artwork in ways almost laughable.
1. Tutankhamun’s Headpiece
Some maintenance workers were tasked with replacing a light bulb in the display cabinet of Tutankhamen’s burial mask. Easy. However they managed to brake off the priceless statue’s 3,300 year old beard. How many maintenance workers does it take to change a light bulb? 5. And they quickly stuck the beard back on with an epoxy glue. Much to the horror of archaeologists,.everywhere.
2. Da Vinci’s Orpheus
Leonardo Da Vinci left the world some outstanding masterpieces. However one of them you won’t find in any museum. 500 years ago he did a sketch of Orpheus being attacked by The Furies which was valued at millions. However the restorer tried ‘loosening’ the work with a mix of water and alcohol which caused a chemical reaction and totally destroyed the piece forever
3. Baby Jesus
In Ontario, Canada, someone stole the head of a baby Jesus statue. An estimate to replace the head was given at $10,000, so the poor statue remained beheaded. Until a local artist decided to take it upon himself to give baby Jesus a new head. A slightly less flattering head made of terracotta clay. Thank goodness the mother of the thief came forward and returned the infant’s missing head. The church didn’t press charges.
4. The Sistine Chapel
(1508) During a gruelling 4 years of laying on his back on rickety scaffolding, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.500 years later, a layer of soot and dust had covered the frescoes and the artwork underwent a heavy-handed restoration process where many of the figures eyes were lost, and many fig leaves were added…
Russia is full of statues of the revolutionary leader Lenin. But none quite like the one in Krasnodar Krai, which after a botched restoration attempt, looks like a different person entirely. It was only when photos of the statue circulated in 2016 that it was re-restored to its former self.
6. William Shakespeare
Shakespeare was not a hugely wealthy poet. Not surprising then that there are very few portraits of him. And now there are two less in the world, since restorers removed a layer of paint they believed to be covering the original. However what they had removed had been painted as Shakespeare had aged depicting a more realistic version. Which has now been destroyed. Forever.
7. Jesus Fresco
A 16th century church in Spain was home to a rare but damaged painting of Jesus. Until 81 year old parish member Cecelia decided to step up and restore it herself. Bless her. However with no real restoration experience whatsoever, rather than restore it, she basically painted Andre the Giant on top of it. However her good intentioned botch up has now attracted more attention than the original fresco ever would have.
Which one of these restoration botch ups, made you smile?