Monday, August 19, 2013

Ecce Homo

In August 2012 there was an article published about a failed attempt at painting restoration performed by an elderly 81 year-old woman named Cecelia Jiménez. Amateur painter Jiménez wished to restore damage on a little-know fresco, named Ecce Homo, Behold the Man. 

The original painting was created by a minor painter, Elias Garcia Martinez and It had remained in peaceful obscurity in the church since it was painted in 1930. The fresco had been a donation to the Santuario de Misericordia Church, in the hills outside of the Spanish town of Borja. Elias Garcia Martinez's granddaughter had made a donation to the church for the restoration of the fresco.

According to the church, Jiménez restored the painting without permission. However she claimed the priest allowed her to do so. After assessing the damage caused by the restoration, the church was seeking profession help with the restoration of the restoration. Church members had noticed it and reported it as suspected vandalism and later Cecelia confessed that she had a hand in it.

After the article was published Cecelia was reported to have suffered from a crippling anxiety attacks, reluctant to eat or leave home. She soon felt well enough to contact a lawyer.

Cecilias' version of Ecce Homo became a tourist attraction with unauthorized images appearing  on T-shirts and mugs; she wanted a cut of the profits. The local council and Cecelia are in the process of signing a deal to share the profits from the merchandise with 49% for Cecelia. 

The Santuario de Misericordia Church with its inactive convent has once again come to life. A walk through the quiet hallways of the old convent gives one a sense of a prison and of solitary confinement. The now crowded church with the disfigured fresco has drawn 40,000 visitors and raised more than €50,000 or $66,285 for the local charity in town.

Cecilias' painting now joins the ranks of the Mona Lisa, as it has been placed behind bulletproof glass, the only fresco in the church to received that honour.

No comments:

Post a Comment