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Mal fresco! Botched Ecce Homo restoration - RowlandsModernArt.com : RowlandsModernArt.com
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Mal fresco! Botched Ecce Homo restoration woman has ‘anxiety attack’

| August 30, 2012 | Comments

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Mal fresco! Botched Ecce Homo restoration woman has ‘anxiety attack’

Cecilia Giménez, 81, reportedly ill after media frenzy and talk of legal action over her well-intentioned restoration disaster of the Ecce Homo fresco

Ecce Homo by Elías García Martínez showing damage caused by an elderly woman who decided to restore the masterpiece.

An 81-year-old who garnered worldwide media attention after she tried – and spectacularly failed – to restore a painting in her local church may face legal charges.

Cecilia Giménez, the well-intentioned amateur restorer from the Spanish city of Borja, is reportedly in bed after an anxiety attack, with neighbours and relatives suggesting she feels overwhelmed because of the media frenzy over the unintentional damage she caused to the mural.

The damage to the painting in the church of la Misericordia de Borja is reportedly being investigated by experts, with the artist’s descendants apparently unhappy that an individual decided to take the restoration job into her own hands. They fear her handiwork may be irreversible.

Giménez told Spanish television that the priest knew about her attempts at restoration to the Ecce Homo painting by Elías García Martínez and that she had done nothing in secret. “The priest knew it and everyone who came into the church could see I was painting,” she said.

Although no one seems sure when she embarked on the restoration project, news of the incident first appeared on the blog of the Centre for Borja Studies a fortnight ago.

The centre posted some before-and-after pictures, along with a plaintive message confirming that someone had recently been up to no good with a brush.

“As incredible as it may seem, this is all that remains of the work of an artist whose descendants still live in our city,” it said. “We do not know whether this unspeakable deed can de remedied, but there can be no doubt whatsoever that someone should take the necessary action to ensure that such behaviour is not repeated. Whatever the motives were, it must be roundly condemned.”

Professional restorers plan to examine the painting to gauge whether restoration is possible.

According to the local paper El Heraldo de Aragón, the city council is reportedly considering legal action against Giménez. Her actions meant the 19th-century painting, which was already in a poor condition, had been “completely destroyed”, one councillor, Juan María de Ojeda, said.

Ojeda nonetheless criticised media attention as “disproportionate”.

Giménez’s efforts have been variously been dubbed “the worst restoration in history”, “a botched job”, and “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic”.

by the Guardian

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