Please keep her away from the Shroud of Turin


A do-it-yourself restoration project took place a couple of weeks ago at the the church of Santuario de Misericordia in Borja, Spain, when an elderly woman reportedly took it upon herself to repair a fresco by 19th century Spanish artist Elias Garcia Martinez. Replacing nearly all of Martinez’s original brushstrokes, the woman’s reimagination of Christ went horribly awry when she turned the detailed figure into what appears to be a featureless monster. (Sourced paragraph from Huffington Post)

The Independent reports:

The third photograph shows the image transformed beyond recognition, with a childlike reworking of Jesus’ face, broad brush strokes removing any subtlety from the clothing and thick layers of red and brown paint covering several key details, including the crown of thorns.

Despite the terrible results, the restoration, which was completed without permission, is not thought to have been malicious; rather the work of an enthusiastic, if somewhat misguided, amateur who lived near to the church and simply wanted to repair the ageing artwork.

Please keep her away from the Shroud of Turin.

11 thoughts on “Please keep her away from the Shroud of Turin”

  1. Would it be appropriate to say “leave the work to the experts”? That is really badly done. I’m not even an amateur but I think I could have done a better job than that.

  2. LMAO! Now that is funny…Poor elderly lady, well intentioned, but most likely suffering from cataracts or some vision infliction nonetheless, has managed to destroy what she intended to restore…She must feel terrible!


  3. Restorations may be controversial, at least here, we can reach a consensus to say it is not brilliant.

  4. Looks like an image of the “Snow monkey” on Internet Explorer images.

    I didn’t mean to laugh, but it’s hysterical. I feel badly for the restorer, as well.



  5. And now for a dissenting voice! “I think it looks better this way”: (???) Letter published in Wellington Dominion Post, August 27, 2012:

    “I’m going to stick my neck out: Cecilia Gimenez has vastly improved the portrait of Jesus in her home town church in Spain. The original was decidedly twee – a sentimental, chocolate-box confection reflecting 19th ventury sensibilities.”
    “She has done something wonderful; a primitive Christ, painted from the heart.”
    “I see the influence of Tony Fomison in her work. Perhaps she’s spent some time in New Zealand?” Gillian Cameron, Karori (NZ).

    You haven’t heard of Tony Fomison? Neither have I. Some NZ wannabe artist I presume. But I won’t bother to Google to find out. Our country is a wonderful tapestry of weird and wonderful people!

  6. Look at the scenario through another lens.

    You have a single, old, photograph of your father that you want to be restored, and with a tremendous amount of hesitation you give it to a restorer. The restorer then restores the photo and returns it to you. Yet, the original image of your father has now become the restorer’s version of how he or she believes your father should look. Would you be content? Since your photo is irreplaceable, I think not.

    I’m certain this restorer had all the best intentions, but she should not have deviated from the original image on the portrait.

    How easy it would have been for her to buy her own canvas and paint her own original Picasso-like masterpiece.

    What she did, whether deliberate or not, is tantamount to restoring the Mona Lisa and turning her smile into a sneer.

    1. Angel’s analogy is a good one. I restored a photo for an elderly friend’s grandfather, one of the early pioneers in Dunedin. But it was all done electronically. Original was scanned, and then a colour cloning tool applied to the damaged areas on the JPEG. The result was so splendid that the retouched photo was able to feature as the cover picture on the family history document I’d prepared for the family who were delighted with the result. Cecilia Giminez’ efforts above illustrate only too well the destructive power of incompetence and ignorance.

      1. daveb of wellington nz,

        Your restored photo probably made your family very proud. Genealogy is a tremendous amount of work, so it’s great you have a nice cover for your family’s history.

        This story made me think of the original artist’s family. Surely they must have been devastated at the result, although unintentional. Certainly, it was an accident; unfortunately, a very costly one.


  7. People are streaming in from all over the world and are paying the church to see this restored painting.

    ABC News with Diane Sawyer just reported that the church made millions off the restoration and the artist is suing. Apparently she wants her fair share of the money.

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