One really has to think about how many 'believers' out there genuinely think that just because they're well intentioned and full of faith, that that translates to having skills of some kind. As an amateur historian, this is the kind of nonsense that literally takes my breath away. Spoiler: Botched Restoration Attempt Europe 22 August 2012 Last updated at 12:46 ET Spanish fresco restoration botched by amateur An elderly parishioner has stunned Spanish cultural officials with an alarming and unauthorised attempt to restore a prized Jesus Christ fresco. Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez has held pride of place in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza for more than 100 years. The woman took her brush to it after years of deterioration due to moisture. Cultural officials said she had the best intentions and hoped it could be properly restored. Donation The woman, in her 80s, was reportedly upset at the way the fresco had deteriorated and took it on herself to "restore" the image. BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser says the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez have been buried under a haphazard splattering of paint. The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic, he says. The woman appears to have realised she was out of her depth and contacted Juan Maria Ojeda, the city councillor in charge of cultural affairs. Art historians are expected to meet at the church soon to discuss how to proceed. Mr Ojeda said: "I think she had good intentions. Next week she will meet with a repairer and explain what kind of materials she used. "If we can't fix it, we will probably cover the wall with a photo of the painting." The fresco is not thought to be very valuable, but has a high sentimental value for local people. Our correspondent says that to make matters worse, the local centre that works to preserve artworks had just received a donation from the painter's granddaughter which they had planned to use to restore the original fresco. Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19349921 August 23, 2012 Botched Restoration of Jesus Fresco Shocks Spain By RAPHAEL MINDER MADRID — A case of suspected vandalism in a church in a northeastern village in Spain has turned out to be probably the worst art restoration project of all time. An elderly woman stepped forward this week to claim responsibility for disfiguring a century-old “ecce homo” fresco of Jesus crowned with thorns, in Santuario de la Misericordia, a Roman Catholic church in Borja, near the city of Zaragoza. Ecce homo, or behold the man, refers to an artistic motif that depicts Jesus, usually bound and with a crown of thorns, right before his crucifixion.The woman, Cecilia Giménez, who is in her 80s, said on Spanish national television that she had tried to restore the fresco, which she called her favorite local representation of Jesus, because she was upset that parts of it had flaked off due to moisture on the church’s walls. The authorities in Borja said they had suspected vandalism at first, but then determined that the shocking alterations had been made by an elderly parishioner. The authorities said she had acted on her own. But Ms. Giménez later defended herself, saying she could not understand the uproar because she had worked in broad daylight and had tried to salvage the fresco with the approval of the local clergy. “The priest knew it,” she told Spanish television. “I’ve never tried to do anything hidden.” Ms. Giménez said she had worked on the fresco using a 10-year-old picture of it, but she eventually left Jesus with a half-beard and, some say, a monkey like appearance. The fresco’s botched restoration came to light this month when descendants of the 19th-century artist, Elías Garcia Martínez, proposed making a donation toward its upkeep. News of the disfiguration prompted Twitter users and bloggers to post parodies online inserting Ms. Giménez’s version of the fresco into other artworks. Some played on the simian appearance of the portrait. The Borja authorities said they were now considering taking legal action against Ms. Giménez, although they insisted that their priority was to try to return the work to its original state, under the guidance of art historians. Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/w...on-of-ecce-homo-fresco-shocks-spain.html?_r=1 Frankly, this calls to attention the fact that the work itself was very much unprotected if some harebrained believer (much less other lunatics or people with evil on their minds), should have such ease of access. Some here may recall the 1972 incident when a psycho (claiming to be Jesus) took a hammer to vandalized Michelangelo's Pietà statue. Thereafter, authorities positioned the priceless artwork behind bullet proof acrylic. IMHO, it was a hard lesson but one that taught them well. Perhaps more should have been done well before this woman came onto the scene, both in terms of protection from the elements and from the well intentioned but ill advised faithful.