A 16th century wooden statue of St. George, in the Church of St. Michael in Estella, a town in northern Spain, was badly in need of repair. The parish priest did not notify the mayor and ask the city for assistance for the tourist attraction. He did not confer with professional art restorers; rather he hired the local handicrafts teacher to do the job, reports the Smithsonian and other news organizations. It is already drawing comparisons to the infamous “Beast Jesus” botched restoration of several years ago.
Carmen Usua, a restorer in the Navarre region, was one of the first people to bring the incident to the public’s attention. “I saw photographs of the atrocity they were committing. As a professional, I feel disconcerted and very offended. It takes years to acquire the skills necessary to carry out these kind of restorations, so imagine the frustration when something like this happens.”
Art professionals and city officials are horrified at the results. But, with any luck, the new St. George could follow the lead of “Beast Jesus.” The tiny town of Borja where the beast is located has seen a tourism boom after the fresco gained worldwide attention.