If you were an atheist vandal with a mischievous streak, you couldn’t possibly top what the devout Cecilia Giménez pulled a year ago. The octogenarian wannabe painter took it upon herself to restore a water-damaged Spanish church fresco by renowned painter Elías García Martínez. The work, entitled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) used to depict Jesus, head cocked coquettishly, wearing a crown of thorns. But by the time Ms. Giménez was done with it, the portrait more closely resembled a hirsute bonobo monkey, no doubt giving ammunition (and laughing cramps) to Darwinists everywhere.
The well-intentioned-but-very-botched transformation, horrifying and comical at once, finally brought the rogue restorer a measure of attention that her original works hadn’t. Juan Maria Ojeda, the local city councilor in charge of cultural affairs, initially proposed that
“If we can’t fix it, we will probably cover the wall with a photo of the painting.”
But even though a fix was indeed impossible, the diocese that owns the painting decided to leave the ruined fresco up, perhaps as a reminder that not everyone is equally capable with a paintbrush.
And guess what? Last year’s Internet infamy is this year’s shot at bona fide fame…
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