The story of an octogenarian who attempted to restore a minor 19th century Spanish fresco has already become legend and one of the art stories of the year, spreading virally on the web over the summer months.
Now the 80-year-old woman who became famous because of her destruction of the Christ fresco ‘Ecce Homo’ by Elijah Garcia Martinez, in a small-town church is auctioning one of her own paintings on the online auction site eBay for charity. Celia Gimenez’s oil painting “Las Bodegas de Borja” (“Borja’s Wine Cellar”), was at €620 ($808) yesterday, with 31 bids. The auction ends Monday. Last August “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man”) a mural in a chapel in the town of Borja was disfigured by Seniora Gimenez while she attempted to restore it. It was re-dubbed “Ecce Mono” (“Behold the Monkey”) on social networking sites internationally. The painting has since become a tourist attraction and the image has been used on T-shirts and wine labels. A note on eBay says the auction’s proceeds will go to the Catholic charity organisation, Caritas.
The story broke when fellow worshippers raised the alarm when the 120-year-old fresco, was transformed into something which looks more like a character from “Planet of the Apes”. To add to the humiliation, a local Catholic cultural foundation, the Centre for Borjanos, had just received a donation from the granddaughter of the artist to return the fresco to its former glory. ‘The woman, Cecilia Gimenez, who is in her 80s, apparently considers herself to be an artist, acted without authorisation from anyone. ‘The church is always open because many people visit and although there is a guard, no one realised what she was doing until she had finished.’
Gimenez, could now face legal action. Change.org the petition website created an online petition which boasted more than 30,000 signatures calling for the church not to make any changes to her work on the painting.
The 80-year-old Spanish woman who became famous for her bad restoration of a Christ fresco in a small rual church has fetched €1,080 ($1,421) on eBay.