The once-beautiful depiction of Christ by the 19th-century painter Elias Garcia Martinez now looks like a mix between a sloth and a monkey. Still, it's hard to fault Cecilia Gimenez for trying to make the painting look better. According to the New York Times, Gimenez is in her 80s and just wanted to restore the painting to its original self, which she loved.
The Times is also reporting that local authorities are considering pressing charges on Gimenez, which is completely ridiculous. Gimenez told a reporter that her fellow parishioners witnessed her filling in the painting. It's clear she wasn't trying to secretly destroy the Jesus fresco. She also claimed that the local clergy authorized her to try to save the decaying painting.
"The priest knew it," she said. "I've never tried to do anything hidden."
If anyone should be blamed for the destruction of the Jesus fresco, titled "Ecce Homo," it's the priest who authorized its "restoration." They let someone who clearly isn't a professional near an apparently beloved piece of art. Which is where one of the biggest points of contention lies. It can in fact be argued that in ruining her favorite Jesus fresco, Cecilia Gimenez did the best thing she could for it.
More people have seen the painting than ever would have before. In the age of information, quirky news like this travels around the world in just minutes, and Gimenez's destruction of the original work led to thousands of websites posting before and after pictures of Martinez's work. CNN even poked fun at the situation, chalking it up to something Mr. Bean would do.
"Clearly, she has destroyed the painting," said Teresa Garcia according to CNN.
Well...yeah, she definitely destroyed the painting. But it's hard to picture all of the people who will claim to be upset about this event ever making a pilgrimage to the church in Spain where it was held just to see it. Aside from maybe a few diehard art lovers, this incident won't even affect anyone's day.
It's also important to note that the picture was in terrible shape to begin with. It's hard to justify making an old lady feel worse than she already does by harping on how terrible she is, something that's become all to common in our culture. Let's just move on instead.
It seems like people are constantly being shocked by things nowadays. If a comedian makes a dirty joke, do they need to be boycotted? The same goes for this once-lovely piece of work. No one got hurt, yet the outrage came at the drop of a hat. There are more important things to worry about.
Is it really that sad? Of course not. It would be a heck of a bummer if this happened more often and to art with a higher profile, but this incident is hardly something that could be considered a tragedy. We'll make it through this, people, don't worry.
It's kind of like Vincent Van Gogh. Nobody cared about him until after he was dead. And this painting is definitely dead.
In the video below there is a quick shot of the painting on a pillar in Sanctuary of Mercy Church. It's just there, not protected by any ropes or guards or distance. What a bummer.