Botched Ecce Homo Fresco Led to Artistic Success


Ecce Homo by Elías García Martínez, before (L) and after (R) its "improvement"

There's many path of to artistic fame, but Cecilia Gimenez's is unique: back in 2012, the amateur octagenarian artist decided to help "restore" a deteriorated fresco called Ecce Homo at her local church, painted over 100-years ago by Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez.

The end result of Gimenez' "restoration," described as a "crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic," was widely mocked on the Internet. The restored version has been called "Ecce Mono" (or Behold the Monkey, a pun on its original name) and "Potato Jesus."

The ridicule was so bad that the priest of the church had considered covering up the painting. But thank goodness that didn't happen, because the botched painting turned out to be quite a boon to the local town of Borja, Spain. Since gaining worldwide attention, the infamous fresco has raised more than 50,000 euros (US$66,660) for a local charity and drawn more than 40,000 visitors.

And things are definitely looking up for Gimenez: the 80-year-old artist has sold her art on eBay for thousands of dollars. She now has her own art exhibit, where two dozens of her other works are on show. No word, however, on whether she'll attempt another restoration anytime soon.


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