Is that you, Banksy?

Senior Editor
08.22.12 34 Comments

The above triptych shows an unauthorized restoration of a 19th-Century fresco on the wall of the church of Santuario de Misericordia in Spain, recently completed by an unidentified 80-year-old woman. It may not look as good as your average Banksy, but hey, let’s see that limey poser work without stencils like Grandma Picasso over here.

Three separate photographs of “Ecce Homo” by painter Elias Garcia Martinez show extensive damage caused by an elderly woman who decided the masterpiece needed a little refurbishment.
But in a time of austerity, rather than calling in a professional to complete the job, the unnamed woman attempted to restore the mural herself – at a devastating cost.
The result was a botched repair where the intricate brush strokes of Martinez were replaced with a haphazard splattering of the octogenarian’s paint. Years of carefully calculated depth of expression simply washed out by copious amounts of red and brown.
The damage was discovered after the 19th century painter’s granddaughter made a donation to the Centro de Estudios Borjanos in Borja, Spain, a couple of weeks ago. The Centro holds an archive of regional religious paintings with regularly-updated photographs.
After receiving the donation, employees at the Centro went to check on the mural at the church of Santuario de Misericodia only to find it drastically altered.
An original photograph of the painting taken in 2010, shows only minimal deterioration with Jesus crowned in thorns clearly visible in the portrait. There is slight white speckling across the piece.
Large white patches appear in a second photograph of the painting taken in July this year, possibly scrubbed off as the octogenarian began her project.
A final photograph reveals a portrait transformed beyond recognition.
The amateur restorer said she had undertaken the project “with good intentions” but, as culture councillor Juan Maria de Ojeda said, “she had gotten out of hand”. [Telegraph]

Well hey, you know what they say, you gotta have hobbies. Normally, I’d say destroying a priceless piece of art is never funny – even that scene in Borat (which I otherwise love) where he’s smashing the Civil War-era china makes me break out in hives – but this comes pretty damned close. What was once a realist portrayal of Jesus now looks like Edvard Munch’s The Scream in a furry hat. I’d call it even money.

I’d like to think this lady now wanders around the nursing home “fixing” the drawings from other residents’ grandchildren, charging collectors thousands for them.

The story reminded me a little of this video, which I will post at the slightest provocation.

[via Telegraph. Thanks to Lincoln for the tip.]

Author Profile Picture
Vince Mancini is a writer, comedian, and podcaster. A graduate of Columbia’s non-fiction MFA program, his work has appeared on FilmDrunk, the UPROXX network, the Portland Mercury, the East Bay Express, and all over his mom’s refrigerator.

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