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Now You Can Restore Your Own Priceless Art

before and after photos of the Jsus fresco that was painted over by the old woman in Spain

Every time I see another mention of a well-meaning citizen who took it upon themselves to try to restore a 1,000 year-old piece of art back to its shiny fresh origins, I feel equal parts horrified and giggly.

The (re)finished piece is always cartoonishly hilarious, the piece of art becomes famous, and I imagine the person who did it in wide-eyed confusion that anyone would be upset with them.

I started to think about what it would be like to grab a paint brush and tub of acrylics, head out to the Art Institute for the day and see what I could make prettier!

In lieu of vandalizing multi-million dollar masterpieces, here is a way we can all collab with Van Gogh or the ancient Greeks without being thrown in the clink for our efforts.

I’ve compiled a group of visual masterpieces and religious relics for you to either: print out and paint or draw all over, or import into the graphic editor of your choice and restore them back to their original glory. Whatever you perceive that to be.

Watch a real conservator at work if you need some help getting into your role:

It wouldn’t be fair of me to leave out viral sensation, “Monkey Jesus”, aka Ecco Homo, painted by Elias Garcia Martinez, and then made much more hilarious by Cecilia Gimenez in 2012.

Below is the original for you to download, and below that is the makeover of the painting. You can proudly wear the Cecilia Gimenez version on a t-shirt by Nerdist here.

image source
Study for an Equestrian Monument, Antonio Pollaiuolo, early to mid 1480s The Met
Anthony van Dyck, Self Portrait, 1630, etching, The Met

He obviously forgot to draw the rest of himself, so we should help.

The oldest Byzantine icon of Mary, c. 600, encaustic, at Saint Catherine’s Monastery
Aphrodite, 2nd century B.C. Greece The Met

Aphrodite lost her head and arms, poor dear.

Portrait of a young girl, 1st century (Portrait of the poetess Sappho?) Image source
Landscapes of Autumn and Winter(Winter), Sesshu source

This obviously needs livening up so it doesn’t look so somber.

Headdress Wood-Sculpture 19-20th century Nigeria; Ejagham Cross River Wood, leather, metal, bone, cane, paint Met

Here are some of my experiments, made entirely in PicMonkey, for your inspiration.

If you’d like more inspiration, check out these art restoration fails.

Funny image of badly restored art
funny parody images of art restoration

What do you think?

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