80-yr-old Spaniard does world's worst art restoration job

  • PTI, London
  • |
  • Updated: Aug 23, 2012 23:02 IST

A Spanish woman ended up destroying a 19th century portrait of Jesus Christ as she attempted to restore the damaged religious masterpiece herself.

The plaster portrait titled 'Ecce Homo' painted by Elias Garcia Martinez had begun to crumble owing to damp and was set to be repaired by professionals thanks to a donation from the artist's granddaughter.

However, the 80-year-old woman decided to restore the masterpice herself, which was admired by worshippers at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Zaragoza, Spain, for more than 120 years.

Without consulting the Church authorities, she marched in with oil paint and brush, and started working on her own private restoration project, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

Quite what she thinks of her handiwork has not been disclosed. But her fellow worshippers are horrified. Her botched effort has infuriated locals and art experts in the country.

This combination of two undated handout photos shows the Ecce Homo-style fresco of Christ before (left) and after (right) an elderly amateur artist took it upon herself to restore. (AP/Centro de estudios Borjanos)

The 120-year-old fresco, Ecce Homo by Elijah Garcia Martinez, has been transformed into something which looks more like a movie werewolf.

To add to the embarrassment, a local Catholic cultural foundation had received a donation from the granddaughter of the artist which it was about to spend on returning the fresco to its former glory.

As a team of experts which examined the woman's handiwork to see if  it can be reversed, a spokesman  for the centre said: "The value of the original work was not very  high but it was more of a sentimental value."

"The lady, who is in her 80s, apparently considers herself to be an artist. She 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," the experts said.


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