Spanish fresco restorer wants cut of tourism boon: Report
This combination of two undated handout photos made available by the Centro de estudios Borjanos shows the fresco of Christ before (left) and after (right) an elderly amateur artist Celia Gimenez, 80, took it upon herself to restore it in the church of the northern Spanish agricultural town of Borja. / (AP Photo/Centro de estudios Borjanos)
(CBS News) - Cecilia Gimenez's attempt at restoring a fading fresco of Jesus Christ garnered worldwide attention - for all the wrong reasons. Now the Spanish octogenarian is aiming to have the last laugh.
Gimenez noticed the deteriorating artwork at her local church in Borja, Spain, and decided she would work to repair it. Despite her best intentions, the result was a cartoon-like image that masked the fresco by 19th-century Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez.
But after images of Gimenez's work were broadcast around the world, tourists began flocking to the Sanctuary of Mercy church to see the restoration in person.
And the amateur artist wants a portion of the tourism proceeds, El Correo reports.
According to the Spanish newspaper, approximately 30,000 people have traveled to see the fresco since news of the restoration went public in August.
The Sancti Spiritus Hospital Foundation, the owner of the sanctuary that houses the destroyed painting, began charging admission Sept. 15 and has already made 2,000 euros, the report said.
Gimenez believes she is entitled to some of the earnings, and she and her family have hired lawyers to help them make their case.
Gimenez isn't alone in wanting to benefit from the town's tourism boom. According to El Correo, no-frills airline Ryanair is offering travelers a 12-euro flight to Zaragoza, near the now-infamous fresco's hometown.
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