Cecilia Gimenez was mocked across the globe for her ‘restoration’ of a century-old painting
An 82-year-old Spanish woman whose botched restoration of a painting of an old painting made her a global laughing stock, is to reap nearly half the
riches from worldwide merchandising of the monkey-like image.
Cecilia Gimenez took it upon herself a year ago to fix up Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), a flaking, century-old fresco of Christ painted on a pillar in a church in Borja, northeastern Spain.
The touched-up result resembled a pale-faced ape with cartoon-style eyes and mouth and a crooked smudge for a mouth; so bad it became an instant internet hit, imitated and pilloried around the world.
The incident also left Gimenez feeling suicidal, and she became a recluse for some time.
In the past year, some 57,000 people have descended on the church, Santuario de Misericordia, to be photographed with the artistic disaster, which everyone found hilarious, according to a charitable foundation running the church.
The church foundation, owned by Borja town hall, started charging one euro ($1.40) for each visitor to help pay for the upkeep of the painting and to finance its charitable work. But the big money could come from selling the rights to use the image on anything from bottles of beverages to coffee mugs and T-shirts.
Under a deal being signed on Wednesday, Gimenez gets 49 per cent of the profit from marketing of the image with the rest going to the foundation, Borja deputy mayor and cultural chief Juan Maria Ojeda told AFP.
No longer mocked, the elderly artist has just held a well-received exhibition of her own paintings in Borja but has no wish to get rich herself, said her lawyer, Antonio Val-Carreres. “All the profits will go for charitable uses by the foundation and by Cecilia,” he told AFP.