Jesus fresco 'destroyer' in Spain demands royalties


Cecilia Gimenez: "Everybody who came into the church could see I was painting"

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The woman who ruined a prized Jesus Christ fresco in Spain is now demanding royalties after her botched restoration became a hit with tourists.

Lawyers for Cecilia Gimenez, who is in her 80s, say any "economic compensation" would go to charities.

She made headlines after her do-it-yourself restoration in a church left the 19th Century fresco of Christ resembling a hairy monkey.

But thousands of people have since visited the church near Zaragoza.

The airline Ryanair is now even offering deals to the north-eastern Spanish city, encouraging tourists to see the fresco in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja.

'Best intentions'

"She just wants (the church) to conform with the law," said Enrigue Trebolle, Ms Gimenez's lawyer.

Visitors look at the fresco restored by Cecilia Gimenez Thousands of people have visited the church to look at the fresco

"If this implies an economic compensation, she wants it to be for charitable purposes."

The lawyer added that Ms Gimenez was favouring charities helping patients with muscular atrophy, because her son suffered from the condition.

Ms Gimenez earlier said she had decided to restore the work by Elias Garcia Martinez because of its deterioration due to moisture.

She claimed to have had the permission of the parish priest to carry out the job.

"How could you do something like that without permission? He knew it!" she was quoted as saying.

But during the restoration, the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez were buried under a haphazard splattering of paint.

The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.

Ms Gimenez appears to have realised she was out of her depth and contacted the city councillor in charge of cultural affairs.

Cultural officials said she had the best intentions and hoped the piece could be properly restored.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Just because her vandalism became popular doesn't mean she is now an 'artist' who deserves recognition and royalties.

    Regardless of if it goes to charity or not, it still counts as her receiving payment, which she really does not deserve as she effectively destroyed artwork.

  • rate this

    Comment number 42.

    If any of had read the article properly you would see that she wants a share of the takings to go to charities surporting people with muscular atrophy because her son suffered from the condition, instead of all of it dissappearing into vatican funds.

  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    Surely The Lord works in mysterious ways! Who would ever have heard of this fresco without her well meant but disastrous intervention. Perhaps it stands a better chance of being more sympathetically restored as a result of her actions :)

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    Sure why not? After all the church is taking in money from tourists off the 'painting' so why shouldn't the author of the item of interest be compensated as well? Frankly I would like a coffee mug with that drawing even a T-shirt. Now that's something for Ms Gimenez to consider the image is really her property she can make some big money from this with the right marketing behind her.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Fine! Pay her the royalties with one hand and take them back as a fine for damaging historical artefacts.


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