Monumental Misfortune

Monumental Misfortune

In late June, the statue of St. George at a church in Estella in northeastern Spain was experiencing higher than regular visitation numbers. Unfortunately, it was due to a badly botched restoration.

The statue is believed to have been completed sometime in the 1500s, and the new coat of paint has had locals wishing that they could turn back the clock. A local bishop said that the priest did not want to restore the statue just to have it cleaned. 

The company behind the St. George project, Karmacolor, had published a video about the restoration process but has since taken it down as outrage has mounted against them. 

"We cannot tolerate more attacks on our cultural heritage," Spain's art conservation association (ACRE) said in a statement. "It shows a frightening lack of training of the kind required for this sort of job” and that it showed “dreadful lack of previous training.” The association is currently pushing for criminal charges for the destruction of a cultural symbol. 

The final product has been compared to the “Ecce Homme” disastrous restoration that occurred in 2012, which made headlines around the world and was dubbed the “worst restoration in history” for making the figure of Jesus look much like a monkey.

But the move has enraged local officials who are demanding to know why they were not informed of the church's plans.

Some positives did come from her efforts however, as the town drew thousands more visitors eager to see her "restoration" and she even had her own art exhibited. Whether the controversy-driven traffic to the statue of St. George turns out nearly as positive still remains to be seen. 

We hope you've enjoyed learning about this Monumental Misfortune! Before you book that ticket to witness the statue of St. George that is causing so much controversy, be sure to check out our culturally immersive group classes! Our native instructors are sure to equip you with all of the knowledge, culturally and linguistically, you may need to describe this "monumental" misfortune.