The Washington Post

Spanish woman botches ‘Ecce Homo’ painting in an attempt to restore it

What started as an octogenarian's attempt to restore an old church painting in Spain has turned into an uproar over vandalism.

Cecilia Gimenez, an elderly parishioner, has claimed responsibility for painting over a century-old devotional fresco by Elias Garcia Martinez in Santuario del Misericordia, a Catholic church in Borja, Spain.

This combination of two undated handout photos made available by the Centro de estudios Borjanos shows the 20th century Ecce Homo-style fresco of Christ before (left) and after (right) an elderly amateur artist Celia Gimenez took it upon herself to restore it in the church of the northern Spanish agricultural town of Borja. (Centro de estudios Borjanos/AP)

The Telegraph reported that Gimenez had undertaken the project "with good intentions,” using a 10-year-old picture of the painting, which had begun to chip and flake over time, in her restoration attempt.

“But she eventually left Jesus with a half-beard and, some say, a monkeylike appearance,” the New York Times wrote.

Gimenez said she had the approval of the local clergy for her restoration attempt, but Borja authorities are now considering taking legal action.


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