YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Spaniard who botched restoration puts other artwork up for sale

December 12, 2012|By Lauren Frayer
  • A series of images shows the damage to the 19th century "Ecce Homo" fresco by artist Elias Garcia Martinez. The picture on the left shows the original work, the one in the middle the pre-renovated fresco and the one on the right the damaged painting.
A series of images shows the damage to the 19th century "Ecce Homo"… (Centro de Estudios Borjanos )

MADRID -- Spain's most infamous art restorer is hoping that any publicity is good publicity.

Cecilia Gímenez was responsible for the badly botched touch-up last summer of a 19th-century Ecce Homo -- a painting of Jesus Christ -- in her local church near Zaragoza, in northeastern Spain. Dubbed the worst art restoration in history, the elderly parishioner's well-meaning but misguided work grabbed international headlines.

One account described it as looking like "a crayon sketch of a monkey in an ill-fitting tunic." In Spain, the Ecce Homo, which is Latin for "Behold the Man," has been renamed Ecce Mono, or "Behold the Monkey."

But the mess has nevertheless brought fame to Gímenez, who is in her early 80s and has apparently deemed it high time to cash in on the notoriety by selling her other artwork online.

An oil painting by Gímenez of some rustic buildings near her village of Borja has fetched bids of more than $800 on EBay, up from a starting price of nearly $400. The website says the work was painted in 2000. The auction closes next Tuesday.

Gímenez says she is donating all proceeds to the Roman Catholic charity Caritas. The painting was put up on EBay as part of a church-owned radio station's Christmas fundraising drive.

But she's still hoping to profit from her most famous work. Borja's church is now charging admission to the thousands of tourists making the pilgrimage to see the extreme makeover of Ecce Homo. Gímenez asked the church for a cut of the money (Ecce Moola?), but it has refused. A court battle is underway.


Nelson Mandela suffering from lung infection, officials say

Britain's Conservatives to propose legalizing same-sex marriage

North Korea's rocket expenditures could have helped the hungry

Los Angeles Times Articles