Spanish fresco ruined by good intentions

This combination of two undated handout photos made available by the Centro de estudios Borjanos shows the 20th century Ecce Homo-style fresco of Christ before, left, and after an elderly amateur artist Celia Gimenez  took it upon herself to restore it in the church of the northern Spanish agricultural town of Borja
This combination of two undated handout photos made available by the Centro de estudios Borjanos shows the 20th century Ecce Homo-style fresco of Christ before, left, and after an elderly amateur artist Celia Gimenez 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 Jimenez was only trying to help.

The amateur art restorer, a resident of Borja, Spain who is in her 80s, saw a deteriorating fresco of Jesus Christ in her local church and thought she could fix it.

The results were less than successful.

The fresco, titled "Ecce Homo," was painted by famous Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez. Seeing it worn down in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church, Jimenez took it upon herself to freshen it up, according to Spanish news agency EFE.

"Until now she just painted on the tunic but the problem started when she painted the head as well, because she has destroyed this painting," said Teresa Garcia, the painter's granddaughter.

While the octogenarian has acknowledged the damage, she told state-run TVE that the parish priest authorized the restoration.

"The priest knew! He did! How could we do something like that without permission? He knew," Jimenez said. "Everybody who came into the church could see me as I was painting. I didn't do anything secretly."

The town's culture councilor, Juan Jose Ojeda, said that a team of professional restorers will visit the site to assess what can be done to salvage the work.

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