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CULTURAL HERITAGE

Is this Spain’s new Ecce Homo?

Amateur restorer in Peñaranda de Bracamonte ‘ruins’ a 17th-century sculpture

Before, right, and left, after the 'restoration'.

“Horrible”, “ridiculous” and “an insult” are just of few of the epithets that residents of Peñaranda de Bracamonte have used to describe their patron saint in recent days.

But it’s not that a wave of anti-clericalism has swept this tiny community located near the Spanish university city of Salamanca.

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Rather, locals are stunned at the incompetent restoration carried out by one of their number on a 17th-century carving of the archangel Michael inside their church.

The case has prompted comparisons with the damage inadvertently inflicted in 2012  on an Ecce Homo religious painting in Borja, which made world headlines and attracted thousands of tourists to this small town in central Spain.

With this in mind, some residents in Peñaranda de Bracamonte have already begun to wonder if their botched restoration might also prompt an influx of curious sightseers and end up putting their village on the map, as well as bringing in much-needed revenue.

English version by Nick Lyne.

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