Books & Art

‘Lamb of God’ Painting Restoration Reveals Original Work That Looks Like ‘Creepy Goat’

The Ghent Altarpiece restoration caused people to lose their minds.
IMAGE PUBLIC DOMAIN
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A controversial restoration of the world-famous Ghent Altarpiece, otherwise known as the Adoration of the Mystic Lamb, sent the faithful feeling aghast at what seems to be cultural and religious sacrilege: The Lamb of God now looks like a goat with human-like eyes.

The altarpiece was created in the 1420s and installed at the St. Bavo’s Cathedral in Ghent, Belgium. It is attributed to 15th-century masters Hubert and Jan van Eyck. It is a significant piece of world heritage, as it is largely considered as the first major artwork created using oil paint as medium.

The multimillion-dollar restoration project revealed original artwork that was painted over in 1550 by a different artist who wanted to make the sheep look more, well, sheep-like. The original Lamb of God in the painting sports more vivid eyes, a more defined pouting lips, and a pinker, brighter nose.

‘This is not a joke.’

Father A.J. Schrenk, a priest from the diocese of Pittsburgh expressed his surprise in a tweet. “Uh, so apparently they restored the Ghent Altarpiece and…” he said, before posting pre- and post-restoration photos of the artwork.

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When some people expressed doubt about the authenticity of the restoration, the priest responded with: “This is not a joke.”

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Naturally, people lost their minds and turned Father Schrenk’s tweet into a meme, with some comparing it to the infamous Ecce Homo fresco restoration.

The Ghent Altarpiece underwent restoration in 2012, starting with the eight outer panels. The full restoration is expected to be finished in 2021.

The Ghent Altarpiece

 

Photo Wikimedia Commons | Public Domain.
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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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