In 2012, an amateur artist from the town of Borja, in the Spanish province of Zaragoza, became known for her botched restoration of a 1930 fresco by Elías García Martínez. The work, called Ecce Homo, originally showed Jesus wearing the crown of thorns. However, the current version seen above has been likened to a hedgehog by many, and even a “crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic” by BBC correspondent Christian Fraser. The new work has also been named Ecce Mono, with ‘mono’ being the Spanish word for ‘monkey’. But even though the restoration was and still is considered a failure by many, the people of Borja beg to differ.
Ever since the Ecce Homo became an Internet sensation, the small Spanish town of only a few thousand has become one of Spain’s large tourist attractions. The church containing the fresco has continued to charge one euro per person to view the work, and local businesses have plastered the image of the restored piece on merchandise, from wine bottles to lottery tickets. The artist who was given the task of restoring the piece, named Cecilia Giménez, has become somewhat of a local celebrity in Borja. There is even a libretto for a comedic opera being written based on Mrs. Giménez’s experience with the restoration. The current version has even become known as a piece of pop art throughout the art world. So now I know what I’ve got to do to become famous.