Spanish conservationists were enraged after the restoration of a church’s 16th-century wooden sculpture of a knight on horseback left the figure unrecognizable.
The figure at the San Miguel de Estella church in the northern Navarra province was recently repainted in gaudy colors by a local craftsman, instead of being properly cleaned by a professional conservationist. The BBC reported the church hired the person to “freshen up” the sculpture, not restore it.
The outcome has earned the disapproval of the Spanish Association of Conservator-Restorers.
“We cannot tolerate more attacks on our cultural heritage,” the agency said in a statement. “It shows a frightening lack of training of the kind required for this sort of job.”
Fernando Carrera, the president of the association, said the sculpture “has been turned into a toy.”
Koldo Leoz, the mayor of Estella, where the church is located, said he did not believe the restoration “was done with malice but they obviously have not acted responsibly with the treasure they had in their possession.”
The association’s website lists other “well-intentioned mistakes,” including a fresco restoration in 2012 that went viral after it transformed a century-old depiction of Christ into an image resembling a monkey.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.