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She didn't mean to, but an elderly Spanish woman who did the worst restoration ever also made up for it.
The Ecce Homo painting, before and after restoration. YouTube Screengrab
It was called “the worst restoration of all time.”
Poor Cecilia Gimenez, a retired Spanish octogenarian, just wanted to fix up her favorite depiction of Christ, a flaking masterpiece called “Ecco Homo” (Behold the man).
Unfortunately, her deft touch transformed the fresco into “Ecco Mono” (Behold the monkey). The terrible, smudged result was discovered at the church of Santuario de Misericondia in northeast Spain after the great-granddaughter of the artist, Elías García Martínez, made a donation.
Gimenez was endlessly ridiculed; her botched restoration became the subject of countless parodies. But, possibly a testament to the church's name (the Shrine of Divine Mercy), Gimenez now has some respite.
According to the Associated Press, the painting has received over 40,000 visitors and earned the church more than 50,000 euros ($66,285). Merchandize for "Ecco Mono," including mugs and t-shirts, is flying off the shelves.
Gimenez's own work is even attracting eager bidders on eBay. All proceeds will go to charity: a happy ending for history's most horrendous smudging.