Behold another botched restoration of a religious artifact


Indeed, and statuary and decoration displayed above floor level in buildings full of candles and censers will quickly acquire a patina of soot; yet another reason to favor brighter colors.


I don’t want to harp on this, but I think its a pretty interesting issue. I’m sure some actual deep thinkers have mulled this sort of thing over already, but indulge me for a second. Imagine some of the corrections or addendums to this story we could conceivably hear:

  • The carvings, originally thought to be from the 15th century, were actually churned out from an “art factory” in Taiwan in the 1980s.

  • The carvings are genuinely from the 15th century but they’re rip-offs, the carver copied a well-known design from someone more talented.

  • Although similar carvings were installed in the chapel in the 15th century, carbon dating shows these carvings are definitely no more than 100 years old; no one can explain this.

  • The carvings are genuinely from the 15th century but their presence in the chapel violates the wishes of the chapel’s designer.

  • The carvings are genuinely from the 15th century but the carver was later found guilty of heinous crimes.

  • The carvings are from the 15th century but they weren’t made for this chapel. They are stolen property.

  • The carvings aren’t really from the 15th century but they were the only pieces of some other church to survive a terrible calamity that killed a large fraction of it’s congregation.

None of these possible situations changes anything about the actual lump of atoms in the chapel, they only change the kind of stories we tell ourselves about the lump of atoms. We derive some kind of value from those stories, we invest our egos into them. But the stories are unstable, they can change in an instant with one tiny piece of information.

It feels like a microcosm of the divisve politics blossoming around the world; our stories are changing faster than the facts on the ground they’re supposedly rooted in are, yet somehow that very instability makes the stories seem more important, not less.


It doesn’t look like a restoration to me, but a completely different statue.


Like a 3D coloring book!


That’s a completely different (political) issue. If we assume that they are in fact the bonafide owners of the art in question, then yes, they actually do have every right to do with it as they please, up to and including complete destruction.




This really makes you wonder how many of those plastic nativity scenes you see on people’s lawns around Christmas are actually priceless 15th century sculptures underneath a gaudy coat of paint.


Maybe I’m just provincial, or self-absorbed, or just a stupid and crass american, but I really can’t muster any outrage about a statue that I didn’t even know existed before today, and that I will probably never see, in a town I will probably never visit. I mean, good on all of you who are upset about this thing being painted badly.

I mean, as bad as it is, unlike the fresco that got messed up, this botched job can probably be fixed by the judicious application of a good, non-toxic paint stripper.


This may be more common than we imagined …



So, basically, if it is not in your nose it doesnt matter. 99% of the world doesnt matter, as it is somewhere you will never visit.


No, but this particular travesty doesn’t rise to the level of concern for me. I’ve already got enough on my plate, thanks.


A museum shows things as they were at some point in time in the past. But this is not an artifact on a museum shelf; it is a decorative item in a church, a working building where people go every day to worship.

I remember a similarly vibrantly painted statue of Mary above the altar in my grandmother’s church in northern Minnesota. The church is now maybe 100 years old, but they still take care of it.

Remember that these are not objects of worship or of historical significance; they are there as reminders of a religious scene. They aren’t trying to acknowledge the artist who created them, they are trying to remind people about some moment in history. They just don’t want them to look shabby or decaying.

They are very different than the painting in the Sistene Chapel, which is serving double duty as a museum to Michaelangelo and a house of worship.


That’s pretty amazing.


I had to laugh at that. Looking at those pictures had my fingers twitching for a paint brush. I was thinking how much better they would look with just some basic highlighting and shading.


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