Ecce Homo, after restoration
A restoration attempt of a 19th century painting by Elias Garcia Martinez has gone horribly wrong, damaging the painting beyond repair.
The restoration was attempted by Cecilia Gimenez, an elderly woman in her eighties who was a neighbour of the Santuario de la Misericordia Catholic Church in Borja, which graced the painting in its walls. Gimenez acted 'without asking anyone for permission', although local culture councillor Juan Maria de Ojeda admitted that the woman’s actions were done 'with good intentions.'
The painting, which depicts Jesus Christ and is titled Ecce Homo
, was donated to the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Spain last month, by the granddaughter of the painter. When art officials travelled to visit the painting in the local church in Borja they received quite a shock after discovering the botched restoration.
They believe that the restoration attempt was made because Gimenez was unhappy by the painting’s obvious signs of decay. Although the painting is not particularly famous, people from all over the world have been shocked and amused by Gimenez’s decision to take matters into her own hands, although she claims many people knew about it before it was discovered.
'The priest knew it, the priest knew it. How could I do it without anyone telling me?' she said
. 'Besides, everyone who entered the church saw me painting.'
However, Ojeda has labelled these claims as 'incoherent.'
'The explanations she gave were incoherent: she said she had been restoring it for years and had to give up before completing it,' he said
According to The Telegraph
, Gimenez’s 'restoration' resulted in 'a botched repair where the intricate brush strokes of Martinez were replaced with a haphazard splattering of the octogenarian's paint. Years of carefully calculated depth of expression simply washed out by copious amounts of red and brown.'
A team of professional art experts plan to examine the work in order to determine whether the damage can be undone.
'More important than the value of the painting itself, is the fact that an uncontrolled action like this can take place,' said Manuel Gracia Rivas, head of a Borja heritage study centre.
Gimenez, it appears, is not without her fans. Almost 9,000 people have signed an online petition asking for the town of Borja to keep the 'restored' painting just the way it is.
'[It] reveals a subtle criticism of the Church's creationist theories while questioning a resurgence of new idols,' the petition reads
, before comparing the restoration to the work of Goya, Munch and Modigliani.Ecce Homo
was painted in just two hours in 1910, on a column in the Borja church.
The painter’s family is reportedly disappointed by the news, but plan to donate a sketch of the same painting sometime over the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, the botched painting has become somewhat of an internet phenomenon with an explosion of images parodying Gimenez's restored work popping up on social media sites and comedy newsfeeds. We have gathered some of the most hilarious images for your viewing pleasure, visit our tumblr gallery
for a giggle.