Ecce Homo (Elías García Martínez)

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For other uses of Ecce Homo, see Ecce Homo (disambiguation).
Ecce Homo
Ecce Homo (Elías García Martínez).jpg
Original painting (left), restoration attempt (right).
Artist Elías García Martínez
Type Fresco
Dimensions 50 cm × 40 cm (20 in × 16 in)
Location Sanctuary of Mercy church, Borja
Owner Diocese of Tarazona

The Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) in the Sanctuary of Mercy church in Borja, Zaragoza is a fresco painted circa 1930 by the Spanish painter Elías García Martínez depicting Jesus crowned with thorns. Both the subject and style are typical of traditional Catholic art.[1] Press accounts agree that the original painting was of little artistic importance,[2][3][4] and its fame derives from a badly botched 2012 attempt to restore the fresco by an untrained amateur.[5][6]

The original mural[edit]

The artist, a professor at the School of Art of Zaragoza, gave the painting to the village where he used to spend his holidays, painting it directly on the wall of the church about 1930.[7][8] He commented that "this is the result of two hours of devotion to the Virgin of Mercy".[9] His descendants still reside in Zaragoza and were aware that the painting had deteriorated seriously; his grand-daughter had made a donation toward its restoration shortly before they discovered Cecilia Giménez's attempt to restore it.[1][10]

Failed restoration attempt and internet phenomenon[edit]

The painting rose to the status of an Internet phenomenon in August 2012. Cecilia Giménez, an 80-year-old amateur artist living locally, painted over the fresco in an attempt to restore it. BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser said that the result resembled a "crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic".[5] The restored version has been jokingly dubbed "Ecce Mono" ('Behold the Monkey,' ecce is Latin, whereas mono is Spanish for 'monkey'; in Latin, it is simio) in an "online rush of global hilarity",[11][12][13] and compared to the plot of the film Bean.[14] Because of the negative attention, the priest of the church, Father Florencio Garces, thought the painting should be covered up.[15]

Artistic significance[edit]

Tongue-in-cheek critiques have interpreted the piece as a multifaceted comment on both sacred and secular themes. A Forbes commentator suggested that the "inept restoration" represented "one woman’s vision of her savior, uncompromised by schooling."[16][17] An online petition signed by more than 20,000 people describes it as "a clever reflection of the political and social situation of our time. It portrays a subtle critique of the creationist theories of the Church, while questioning the emergence of new idols."[18] In September 2012 the artistic group Wallpeople presented hundreds of reworked versions of the new image on a wall near the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona. An organizer commented that "Cecilia has created a pop icon".[19]

Tourist success[edit]

The interest from tourists was such that the church began charging to see the fresco.[20] In the year following the failed restoration, tourist activity generated 40,000 visits and more than €50,000 for a local charity.[21][22] Giménez has sought a share of the royalties. Giménez's lawyer said that she wanted her share of the profits to help muscular atrophy charities, because her son suffers from the condition.[23]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Un hecho incalificable" (in Spanish). Noticias y actividades. Centro de Estudios Borjanos (Institución Fernando El Católico). 7 August 2012.
  2. ^ Rocío Huerta (22 August 2012). "La restauración de un 'Ecce homo' se convierte en un sainete mundial". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  3. ^ John Hall (22 August 2012). "Elderly woman destroys 19th-century Spanish fresco by Elias Garcia Martinez in botched restoration". The Independent (London). Retrieved 24 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Jonathan Jones (23 August 2012). "Great art needs a few restoration disasters". guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 1 September 2012. "Martinez is not a great artist and his painting Ecce Homo is not a 'masterpiece'. It is a minor painting in the dregs of an academic tradition." 
  5. ^ a b "Spanish fresco restoration botched by amateur". BBC. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 23 August 2012. 
  6. ^ "Amateur art restorer ruins fresco of Christ in Spanish town". The Celebrity Cafe. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Disfigured Spanish Fresco Is Hit for Artist, Town". Associated Press. 13 August 2013. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  8. ^ Albarium Conservación y Restauración. Informe sobre el Ecce Homo de la iglesia del Santuario de la Misericordia de Borja (Zaragoza)[dead link]. September 2012.
  9. ^ Huerta, Rocío (22 August 2012). "Restauradores profesionales tratarán de recuperar el eccehomo". El País (in Spanish). Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  10. ^ Minder, Raphael (24 August 2012). "Despite Good Intentions, a Fresco in Spain Is Ruined". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  11. ^ "‘Ecce mono’". Editorial. Financial Times. 24 August 2012. 
  12. ^ Victoria Cavaliere (27 August 2012). "Elderly woman destroys 19th century fresco in do-it-herself restoration attempt". New York Daily News. Retrieved 27 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "De Ecce Homo...". El Heraldo. 23 August 2012. "Malestar e hilaridad general por destrozo que anciana 'restauradora' ocasionó a pintura." 
  14. ^ "Church masterpiece 'restored' as Mr. Bean would do it". News.blogs.cnn.com. 23 August 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012. 
  15. ^ David Randall; Megan Tatum. "Botched art is an online sensation". London, England: The Independent on Sunday (via HighBeam Research). Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  16. ^ Alexander Forbes (23 August 2012). "Spanish Octogenarian's Disastrous Unauthorized Art Restoration Yields Surprisingly Avant-Garde Results". Artinfo. Retrieved 1 September 2012. "[...] the updated monkey-like Christ has a freakish new power all its own, and may be its own kind of metaphor for modern man." 
  17. ^ Jonathon Keats (27 September 2012). "Why Every Church Should Be Blessed With A Muralist As Uncouth As Cecilia Gimenez". http://www.forbes.com/. Retrieved 29 September 2012. "Works such as the Giménez Jesus are as vital for believers – and as insightful for the rest of us – as traditional masterpieces, albeit for different reasons... We gain access to one woman’s vision of her savior, uncompromised by schooling. Her painting documents a live relationship. For some, that will be alluring, inviting them likewise to pursue their connection with their god or messiah. To any of us willing to set aside our sneering irony, it provides rare raw access to human faith at work." 
  18. ^ "Petición | Ayuntamiento de Borja (Zaragoza): Mantenimiento de la nueva versión del Ecce Homo de Borja" (in Spanish). Javier Domingo, Madrid, España. Retrieved 28 August 2012. "El osado trabajo realizado por la espontánea artista en el Ecce Homo del Santuario de la Misericordia de Borja, supone además de un entrañable acto de amor, un inteligente reflejo de la situación política y social de nuestro tiempo. En el cual se pone de manifiesto una sutil crítica a las teorías creacionistas de la Iglesia, a la vez que se cuestiona el surgimiento de nuevos ídolos. El resultado de la intervención combina inteligentemente el expresionismo primitivo de Francisco de Goya, con figuras como Ensor, Munch, Modigliani o el grupo Die Brücke, perteneciente a la corriente artística del expresionismo alemán."
  19. ^ Anthony Coyle, Barcelona (7 September 2012). "Ya está aquí: el ‘eccehomenaje’" (in Spanish). Cultura. El País. "Una acción en la que cientos de personas han diseñado su particular fotomontaje del eccehomo [sic] de Borja, asignándole tan particular rostro a todo tipo de iconos del imaginario popular; desde celebridades a obras del Renacimiento o pósters de cine. Wallpeople ha recibido más de un centenar de dibujos de todo el mundo desde que anunció la convocatoria hace dos semanas. Uno de sus responsables, Pablo Quijano, explica que la idea es 'fomentar el arte y la creatividad' y 'apoyar a Cecilia Giménez', quién incluso ha padecido ataques de ansiedad desde el suceso. 'Cuando vimos la repercusión de este fenómeno pensamos que teníamos que hacer algo. Cecilia ha creado un icono pop', comenta el joven de 30 años [...]"
  20. ^ Brooks, Katherine (20 September 2012). "'Ecce Homo' Restorationist Cecilia Gimenez Allegedly Demands Royalties for 'Beast Jesus' Creation in Spain". Huffington Post. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 
  21. ^ Associated Press in Madrid. "Ecce dinero: Spain turns ruined Christ fresco into money-spinner | Art and design". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  22. ^ Detenido Florencio Garcés, el cura de Borja: abusos sexuales y robo de 210.000 euros. En la Iglesia de esta localidad zaragozana se encuentra el famoso 'Eccehomo' restaurado por Cecilia Giménez. 30 November 2013. http://www.lavozlibre.com/noticias/ampliar/845989/florencio-garces-el-cura-de-borja-abusos-sexuales-y-robo-de-210000-euros accessed 30 Nov 2013.
  23. ^ Barry Neild (20 September 2012). "Ecce Homo 'restorer' wants a slice of the royalties". Guardian.co.uk (London). Retrieved 21 September 2012. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°51′16.83″N 1°34′31.52″W / 41.8546750°N 1.5754222°W / 41.8546750; -1.5754222