After a year’s exile and hundreds of hours of painstaking work, a 16th-century polychrome statue of Saint George and the dragon from northern Spain that made the news for all the wrong reasons has been lovingly and carefully unrestored.
Last summer the Church of St Michael in Estella, Navarre, became the latest holy place to fall victim to some well-intentioned but ill-advised brushwork. A local artist’s efforts to freshen up the walnut wood statue did not go entirely according to plan.
Saint - Face - Suit - Armour - Tintin
The saint was left with a rosy pink face and a strikingly bold suit of armour that reminded some of Tintin and others of a Playmobil figure. It also elicited comparisons with the infamous “Monkey Christ” restoration six years earlier.
Now, however, the statue has been returned as closely to its pre-2018 state as possible. Carlos Martínez Álava, the head of the Navarre government’s historic heritage department, said the latest intervention had finished two weeks ago and the plan was to get the statue to Estella in the next few days.
Process - Tests - Samples - Materials - Methods
“It’s been a long process because we had to do preliminary tests and take samples to see how we could go about cleaning it and to determine which would be the best materials and methods,” he said. “Today, the statue has the same colours it had before last year’s extremely unfortunate intervention. But we know that we’ve lost part of the original paint along the way.”
Martínez Álava said that although he was a historian and not a restorer, he thought things had turned out really well. “The bits of paint that were lost have been filled in and from a distance it all looks the same,” he said. “But when you get up close, you can see very clear what’s original and what’s not.”
Restoration - Process
He said the restoration process had been time-consuming, estimating...
Wake Up To Breaking News!