For over 100 years, the people of Zaragoza, Spain, have had pride in their local church. The centerpiece of the Sanctuary of Mercy Church was the fresco Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez. Despite not being terribly valuable, locals love the fresco, but no one loved it more than 80-something Cecilia Gimenez. Enraged by the painting’s deterioration, the old woman decided to do something about the painting’s damage herself. Elderly Cecilia Gimenez ruined a 100-year-old painting of Jesus by trying to restore it herself, turning the face of Christ into something described as a monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.
Said the elderly woman at the crux of the issue, “(The) priest knew it! He did! How could you do something like that without permission? He knew it!”
The sad thing is the painting was going to be restored. The local organization that cares for and restores the local artwork had just received a donation the week previously to have the painting professionally restored; the donation came from Elia Garcia Martinez’s granddaughter. As for the painting in its current state, Gimenez will meet with church officials and the painter scheduled to fix the damage next week to say what sort of materials she used in the attempted clean-up. If the painting cannot be saved, it will be covered by a picture of the painting in its true glory.
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