- Title: SPAIN: Botched church fresco reaches 'iconic' status among visitors
- Date: 26th August 2012
- Summary: VARIOUS OF PEOPLE TAKING PICTURES INSIDE CHURCH
- Embargoed: 10th September 2012 13:00
- Location: Spain
- Country: Spain
- Topics: Arts,Quirky,Religion,Religion
- Reuters ID: LVADELCQCS2XI4PA1Z4IB82YI0LI
- Aspect Ratio:
- Story Text: Visitors streamed into the Spanish village of Borja on Sunday (August 26) to see the "Ecce Homo" fresco painting, a nineteenth century work ruined by a local woman who wanted to restore it.
An amateur art restorer in her 80's, Cecilia Jimenez, inadvertently destroyed the painting depicting the face of Jesus Christ, leaving a new version of the art piece in its place.
"I love it, I love it. I think what has happened is fantastic, this is almost a miracle. There was nothing left of the original picture before and this woman, with all her good intentions, has done something very big. The town of Borja should be thankful because it has reached the whole world and the place is full of people who is here only to see the picture," Ramon Rubio, who had travelled all the way from Barcelona, told Reuters.
"I think it is fantastic and I think they should leave it that way forever," Conchita, a Borja resident, added.
Cecilia Jimenez had restored the paintings in the old church for years. She said the priest gave her permission to restore the "Ecce Homo".
The work had little financial value, but was treasured by the community.
Tourists have been visiting the small town since news of the mishap broke, taking pictures and videos of the painting.
The Borja Mayor Francisco Miguel Arilla said the crowds were overwhelming.
"It is amazing. It is very hard to understand. We don't understand how something like this is over the world now. Argentine and American broadcasters have come and we can't understand it. We don't know how it all will happen. We are overwhelmed," Mayor Arilla said.
The fresco, painted by Elias Garcia Martinez, is called "Ecce Homo" meaning "Behold the Man" in English, but Spanish jokers have renamed it "Ecce Mono" ("Behold the Monkey") since its restoration by Jimenez.
"This is a funny anecdote. With all the problems this country is facing, this is adding a little more to this banana republic image we have. But what can we do about it," Borja visitor Rafa said, laughing in front of the fresco.
David and Nacho travelled from Seville, in southern Spain, specifically to see the painting.
"The whole country is unemployed, so the best we can do is to come to the Aragon region to see the painting," David said.
"We are unemployed and we were not doing anything else, so we had a good opportunity to come and see it," Nacho added.
A group of professional art restorers is expected to arrive in Borja on Monday (August 27) to make an assessment of the state of the fresco and determine whether the state of the fresco can be improved by experts.
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