A disfigured fresco, which was created last year by an 81-year-old artist from Spain, has attracted over 40,000 visitors and raised over $66,000 for charity.
Cecilia Gimenez, the artist who tried to restore the image of Jesus Christ, botched the restoration attempt last year. At the time, it drew a lot of criticism from people who noted that it looked nothing like the original depiction and more like a monkey!
The town of Borja, which is situated in the Zaragoza province in North-Eastern Spain, couldn’t be happier though.
The unprecedented attention which the painting has created has caused a real buzz around the small sleepy town. They have even started putting the botched depiction of Christ on merchandise like T-shirts and coffee cups as a great money spinner for the town.
Even though the town only has 5,000 residents the disfigured fresco has seen thongs of tourists, who go there just to see the painting.
It seems that the artist, Gimenez, is taking full advantage of the fame of the fresco, as a deal has already been discussed with the local council in the area, for royalties from the sales of merchandise.
When the fresco was restored by Gimenez last year, naturally she was more than a little camera shy, as she received a good amount of ridicule for it. Now though it appears Gimenez is enjoying the last laugh as her attempt at restoring the fresco draws so much positive attention.
She spoke to her local paper, the Heraldo de Aragon, about the new found success of her handiwork saying: “Now it seems like everyone’s happy. I’m grateful that things have quieted down.”
The original fresco was a depiction of Jesus Christ wearing a crown of thorns, commonly known as “Ecce Homo,” (behold the man.) The painting was long forgotten and sat untouched for nearly a hundred years, until Gimenez decided she was going to restore it. Unfortunately the project didn’t go so well and the fresco came out completely distorted and looking like a monkey.
As soon as it started to become popular the council began charging a dollar entrance fee to see the disfigured fresco. They kindly donated this money to the Sancti Spiritus foundation, a local charity. The funds will go towards outstanding bills for the home, which houses over 60 elderly people.