An elderly Spanish church-goer has left Spanish cultural officials with their hearts in their mouths after she undertook a one-woman attempt to restore a prized fresco of Jesus Christ and spectacularly botched it. The artwork was painted in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church, Zaragoza over 100 years ago.
Octogenarian Cecilia Gimenez was apparently distraught at the way that moisture had damaged the fresco and took it upon herself to restore the image and the fresco now resembles a hybrid of Munch’s ‘The Scream’ in the style of The Gruffalo. She maintains that the priest in charge of the church had given her permission to carry out the restoration.
“The priest knew it! He did! How could you do something like that without permission? He knew it!” said Señora Gimenez.
Christian Fraser, the BBC’s Europe correspondent says the careful technique of the original artist, Elias Garcia Martinez “have been buried under a haphazard splattering of paint.
The elderly lady is said to have realised that her work had spoilt the fresco and contacted Juan Maria Ojeda, from Zaragoza’s Office of Cultural Affairs. Teresa Garcia, granddaughter of Elias Garcia Martinez, said the woman had painted the tunic before, but the fresco got disfigured when she painted Christ’s head.
Mr Ojeda said: “I think she had good intentions. Next week she will meet with a repairer at the church and explain what kind of materials she used. If we can’t fix it, we will probably cover the wall with a photo of the painting. The fresco is not very valuable, but has a high sentimental value for local people.”