Jesus fresco 'destroyer' in Spain demands royalties


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

Related Stories

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.


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 51.

    Wow that is a botch job if I ever saw one! But good on her for taking the initiative... at least her heart was in the right place and you know the funny thing with art is that this could come to be viewed as a masterpiece 100 years down the line

  • rate this

    Comment number 50.

    "Best intentions?" She had no clue she is an Amateur & professional painting requires sophisticated technical expertise?The vandal should be in prison for ruining a priceless work ofArt &desecrating a house of worship!She should certainly be made to pay for the actual restoration of the work.If she feels entitled to "royalties"(for "charity"or not),she should be committed forLife to a Mental inst.

  • rate this

    Comment number 49.

    Turner prize?

  • rate this

    Comment number 48.

    As there are no pictures of what Jesus looked like then each and EVERY artist has license to depict him as he/she see's fit! It's pointless to critisize this womans 'art' when god himself screws up so many of his children at birth!

  • rate this

    Comment number 47.

    Would the fresco have had any attention without the botched job that she did. You bet not.
    Her heart is in the right place, something will benefit.

  • rate this

    Comment number 46.

    Nobody knows what Jesus looked like. So maybe the altered version is more accurate. Who cares? Its just a painting of a face. If people are paying to see it then surely she is right to ask for some to go to charity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 45.

    actually what generated the potential money making opportunity was not her work. It was the work of the media, any 5 year old could have daubed the painting over. Without publicity almost no one would want to go and see the vandalism. The key to making the money is the 'fame' generated by the media. So pay the media not her? Shows the stupidity of copyright.

    Yes. Very.

  • rate this

    Comment number 44.

    Next she'll claim it is a self portrait.

  • rate this

    Comment number 43.

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

    Is she Nick Buckles mum by any chance?
    What a load of Jackson Pollocks!

  • 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 41.

    I too agree with Tony - how about opening comments for the important issues/news? This feels like a form of censorship by the BBC. I thought it was "...our BBC..."!?

  • rate this

    Comment number 40.

    @38. Jenko

    no it clearly isn't a 'sign of the times', she's in her 80s, you think she heard about the painting on Twitter or something? And she wants money for charities.

    Read the article before commenting, or tbh, just don't comment.

  • 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 38.

    sign of the times an idiot destroys something then with media attention wants paying for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 37.

    It's a crap piece of work and the only reason it's been allowed to stay for one moment is that this lady meant well and in her 80s. Once media puppets have turned to graze elsewhere, it'll be expunged. Money? She's lucky not to get sued...

  • rate this

    Comment number 36.

    I prefer Ms Gimenez' rendition of the fresco to the original. She has been endowed by her creator with unique talent, with her alteration, the subject now gazes directly into the very soul of the viewer.
    Ms Gimenez has breathed fresh life into a tired, stale old piece of art and given it new relevance. Perhaps she could redo the last supper, depicting the disciples enjoying McDonalds takeout.

  • Comment number 35.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    I'd buy it!! It gives me a smile each time I see it!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.


    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?

    She's not the author, Elias Garcia Martinez was in the 18th century.

    This women took it upon herself to attempt a restoration which she royally botched.

    Shame on her for trying to extract money from her church, not very Christian of her is it!

  • rate this

    Comment number 32.

    Oh, God - JamesStGeorge, - what do you mean: once your work is out and seen/heard by others it should be free for ever more? You are wiping a whole lot of professions clean off the table: musician, painter, writer, director, - any kind of artistry, architecutre, .. you are demanding all of them to work for free!!! You surely can'y be serious!?


Page 7 of 9


More Europe stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.