Chances are you probably remember "Beast Jesus"--the fresco painting in a Spanish church that was lovingly "restored" by a local parishioner in 2012, and soon became the laughing-stock of the internet. In today's episode, we discuss this and three other acts of conservation and restoration of works of art and architecture. In addition to explaining what made these acts controversial, we consider why conserving and restoring works of art raises philosophical questions about how we define, understand, and value works of art.
P.S. Thank you to our listener Kelley for encouraging us to do an episode on conservation!
Ben Lerner, "The Custodians," the New Yorker
The Cathedral of Notre Dame, Paris, Restored by Eugène-Emmanuel Viollet-le-Duc and Jean Baptiste Lassus, Victorian Web
Matthew Ryan Smith, "Reconsidering the 'Obscene': The Massa Marittima Mural," Shift: Queen's Journal of Visual and Material Culture
May 14, 1990: Michael Kimmelman, "After a Much-Debated Cleaning, A Richly Hued Sistine Emerges," New York Times
Aug. 28, 2011: "The ‘Tree of Fertility’ Mural Is Restored, But Missing Its Phallic Images," Time
Sept. 27, 2012: "Why Every Church Should Be Blessed With A Muralist As Uncouth As Cecilia Gimenez," Forbes
Aug. 20, 2015: "Something to sing about: 'worst art restoration ever' inspires an opera," The Guardian