Woman who ruined priceless fresco demands royalties

By Stephanie Grimes | Posted - Sep. 20, 2012 at 11:47 a.m.



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Borja, SPAIN — The 80-year-old Spanish woman who botched the restoration of a painting of Christ, subsequently turning it into a major tourist attraction for her church, is now demanding a cut of the revenue the church has made off the painting.

Cecilia Giménez is claiming copyright on her work and is demanding royalties after the Santuario de Misericordia church began charging a fee to see the 19th-century-fresco that many said now resembled a monkey or teddy bear. The church made 2,000 euros in the first four days after the fee was implemented, according to El Correo.

Woman who ruined priceless fresco demands royalties

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The fresco, titled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), had been painted on a wall of the church more than a century ago.

Giménez said when her work first became known that she had been instructed by the church to restore the painting, and had never hid her work. The artist's granddaughter said the work had been limited to the tunic, though, and that Giménez's work on Christ's face had destroyed the painting.

Giménez received international attention for her restoration, inspiring an "Ecco Homo" wine, a mural and a Facebook fan page.

The attention led Giménez to have anxiety attacks and become something of a recluse, according to TechDirt.

Now that she seems to have embraced her work, church officials have, too, retaining lawyers in case of a court battle. But it is unclear whether church officials would demand payment for the damage to the painting, should the dispute make it to court.

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