[Telegraph] Three separate photographs of “Ecce Homo” by painter Elias Garcia Martinez show extensive damage caused by an elderly woman who decided the masterpiece needed a little refurbishment. But in a time of austerity, rather than calling in a professional to complete the job, the unnamed woman attempted to restore the mural herself – at a devastating cost. The result was a botched repair where the intricate brush strokes of Martinez were replaced with a haphazard splattering of the octogenarian’s paint. Years of carefully calculated depth of expression simply washed out by copious amounts of red and brown. The damage was discovered after the 19th century painter’s granddaughter made a donation to the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Borja, Spain, a couple of weeks ago. The Centro holds an archive of regional religious paintings with regularly-updated photographs. After receiving the donation, employees at the Centro went to check on the mural at the church of Santuario de Misericodia only to find it drastically altered. An original photograph of the painting taken in 2010, shows only minimal deterioration with Jesus crowned in thorns clearly visible in the portrait. There is slight white speckling across the piece. Large white patches appear in a second photograph of the painting taken in July this year, possibly scrubbed off as the octogenarian began her project. A final photograph reveals a portrait transformed beyond recognition. The amateur restorer said she had undertaken the project “with good intentions” but, as culture councillor Juan Maria de Ojeda said, “she had gotten out of hand”. The restoration work was completed without permission.
Damage? Devastation? Ruined it? What are you crazy? Looks like an improvement to me. In the first one I see a picture of JC… so what? Seen it before… moving on. With the second, I laugh uncontrollably. Isn’t the point of art to invoke some emotion? Well, with the original, my emotion is “Meh. Another painting of Christ. Who cares.” But I keep coming back for more Monkey Jesus. I love it. There are probably a thousand paintings of JC per block in Spain. I bet you can’t walk 10 yards without seeing one. But how many Jesus/Planet of the Apes hybrid paintings are there? That’s right. One. I doubt anyone gives a shit about all the others. You’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. But anyone with an internet connection has now seen this blob face Christ. It’s famous. I’d honestly be willing to bet that people will now actually go out of their way to see this fresco. You think they’d do that if it were just restored by some decent painter? It’s pretty obvious to me that this unnamed woman made the value of this painting skyrocket. So don’t listen to all the critics, unnamed elderly woman. No real artist gets any respect until after they’re dead anyway. Luckily for you, sounds like you won’t have to wait too long.