Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:August 24th, 2012 08:00 EST
Did Cecilia Gimenez Destroy a Spanish Fresco Masterpiece, Ecce Homo, by Elias Garcia Martinez?

Did Cecilia Gimenez Destroy a Spanish Fresco Masterpiece, Ecce Homo, by Elias Garcia Martinez?

By John G. Kays


I don`t believe it will serve any purpose to poke fun at Cecilia Gimenez for her restoration job of a 200-year-old Spanish fresco titled Ecce Homo, by Elias Garcia Martinez (which is painted on a wall of a Roman Catholic church, Santuario de la Misericordia in Borja, Spain). Cecilia did the best job she could, given her particular acumen in painting (moreover, she is 80 years old!). Then again, an aged fresco restoration project is an entirely different ball of wax! 


There must be only a select few who have these secret talents at restoring Western treasures of fresco Art, that are deteriorating throughout the churches and museums of Europe. Perhaps, if we are to believe that Cecilia Gimenez is being upfront in her claims that priests at her church knew what she was doing, we might want to point the finger at them for not intervening, for not censoring Cecilia in her efforts to spring new life out of Ecce Homo.


Therefore, the real question, as I see it: can we say that Elias Garcia Martinez`s original fresco rendering of Jesus with thorns is a Western masterpiece that deserved a great deal more attention? If it (was) a masterpiece, then we can say, what Cecilia did to it takes on a level of criminal mischief and vandalism. Turning the contemplative visage of Jesus into a monkey face is contemptible behavior. And what did she do to the crown of thorns?


The beard, hair, and thorns look like one connected hair-ball hood or Bizarre Russian street parka! Actually, Cecilia has turned it into Russian icon art, where the mouth is oddly smudged and the scroll on the bottom makes it look as if Jesus`s arm is in a cast/sling.  His tunic is filled in with a generic brown; the subtlety of color gradation and detail is gone! Once again, what happened to the dreamy hair blended in with the menacing crown of thorns? 


The baboon wig (which turns into a complete wig around a beard simultaneously!) covers up the beautiful, light touch of Elias Garcia Martinez? I`m convinced, and the more I glare at the original rendering of Ecce Homo, the more I conclude this was a masterpiece, but maybe nobody realized it was. It`s no Leonardo, nor is it a Giotto, but it`s rather further up there in the scale of master art than was once thought! Yet now it`s totally destroyed!


The crude and cruel strokes of the octogenarian has pulverized this priceless work of art, and turned it into a parody of a mockery, a cartoon rendition of a Planet of the Apes simian, who couldn`t possibly be Jesus Christ! I wonder how the Santuario de la Misericordia can hold mass with any kind of sincerity; parishioners must be chuckling in their pews. This type of sacrilege is a travesty for those who hold the tenets of the holy church with heartfelt purity; it`s nothing short of heresy!


Especially with regards to icons or images. My pic of the simian icon in the context of the church, casts it in a much better light. It has an ambient, amorphous quality where it just blends in chameleon-like with the ordinary vestibules of the timeless church ritual, where bringing the word of God to the needy masses is its primary mission. 


Only on closer inspection can we see the masquerade-charade, the distortion and destruction of what once was a mystically immaculate image of Jesus Christ. Bloggers and aficionados of sensationalism, the Lords of the New Church (of Social Media) are blasphemous in praising what Cecilia Gimenez has done. The destruction of Western Art, at the hands of a new class of heretics, is just around the corner, friendos. End of the World! Period!  


Pensioner who destroyed 19th century religious artwork insists she had permission to restore painting... and she isn`t finished | Mail Online