Internet loses its mind over restoration of famous altarpiece

The magic of looking at a centuries-old painting can feel like time-traveling. It’s a moment frozen in time and preserved forever, thanks to the help of restorers who use science, art, cutting-edge technology and hours of manual techniques from years of schooling to maintain the pieces.

And sometimes, that process goes hilariously wrong and gives you nightmares.

Recently Twitter found out that a panel on the Ghent Altarpiece — an enormous 15th-century masterpiece — that depicted a painting called “The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb” had been altered, inciting pandemonium over the appearance the eponymous lamb’s face. 

Father Schrenk, a priest from Pittsburgh, broke the news on Twitter on Monday. “This is not a joke,” he wrote as a follow-up, linking out to a Christian online publication that wrote up the restoration. 

“The Lamb of God” is one of the most common and profound symbols of Jesus throughout art and text. 

The lamb’s eyes are a little bit too humanlike and intense, and it looks like it’s doing a ducklike pout. While the rest of the panel is more “naturalistic,” the lamb’s face is almost cartoonish — like a painted Instagram filter.

The restoration for the Ghent Altarpiece costs millions of dollars. Hélène Dubois, who was spearheading the project, reportedly said that the discovery of the lamb’s features was “a shock for everybody — for us, the church, for all the scholars, for the international committee following this project.”

Twitter, on the other hand, has been having fun with the artwork.

Naturally, there were comparisons to the infamously botched restoration of a Jesus fresco from 2012.

And, of course, there is already a Twitter account for the “Ghent Mystic Lamb.”

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