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Precious statue of St George left ‘looking like Tintin’

The 16th century carving before and after attempted restoration work (Photos: Julio AsunciĆ³n/ArtUs RestauraciĆ³n Patrimonio)

A town mayor has accused a Catholic church pastor of negligence after restoration work on a 16th century sculpture attracted ridicule.

Mayor Koldo Leoz of Navarre, northern Spain, has opened into an investigation after a priest at the church of San Miguel de Estella employed a local schoolteacher to restore its wooden carving of St George, and its muted tones were replaced with bold colours.

In one of a series of tweets on the subject, Mayor Leoz wrote “I do not doubt the goodwill of both the pastor and the person in charge of desecrating this work of art through nothing appropriate techniques, but the negligence of both is very serious and cannot overlap with the excuse of goodwill.”

Other Twitter users compared the reworked sculpture to Tintin or a Playmobil character.

Mayor Leoz said the work was ordered without approval from city authorities, and had resulted in “an irreparable loss”.

“How is it possible that the parish priest of a church is able to decide the fate of a 16th-century statue without communicating his intentions either to the city council or to the local government and ignoring absolutely his legal duty or professional judgment?”, the mayor wrote.

The Association of Conservators and Restorers of Spain (ACRE) also responded to the incident, according to BBC News.

“We cannot tolerate more attacks on our cultural heritage,” the organisation said in a statement. “It shows a frightening lack of training of the kind required for this sort of job.”

Mayor Leoz indicated that efforts will be made to recruit an expert to reverse the work carried out.