4 questions sparked by the “Ecce Homo” restoration

By now you must have heard about the failed “Ecce Homo” restoration. If you haven’t, I hope the rock you live under is both comfortable and warm, despite neither of those features being characteristic of rocks. In any case, if you haven’t heard the story before and refuse to follow the link I’ve provided for some stubborn reason, here’s a quick recap:

In a Spanish town of Borja, an elderly lady by the name of Cecilia Giménez attempted to restore a deteriorated fresco of Jesus, “Ecce Homo”, in a local church of Santuario de la Misericordia. At some stage it became apparent that her amateur efforts didn’t quite yield the desired results. More specifically, Cecilia transformed Jesus into a nightmarish marshmallow-man.

Arguably the easiest “Spot The Differences” puzzle in existence

Reactions to the “Ecce Homo” incident ranged from outrage to amusement. The Internet, of course, exploded with innumerable parodies of the botched fresco job.

However, amidst all of this hype, nobody seemed to be asking the truly important questions. Well, that’s why I’m here!

4. Why did it take that long?

Reportedly, Ms. Giménez “had been restoring [the fresco] for years and had to give up before completing it” (emphasis added, because why not?).

H-h-how is that possible?!

Look, I don’t mean to brag, but I can draw up a pretty neat stickman figure in a matter of seconds. A simplistic approximation of a human face would take me a minute or two. Add a few hours to go grab some special fresco-friendly paint and I’d have Jesus looking like Pac-Man within a day, tops!

Hell, even Mr. Bean managed this feat in just over 5 minutes:

How can it take years to give Jesus a head-encompassing beard and remove all distinct features from the lower half of his face?!

Even more scarily…she “[gave] up before completing it”?! What was her next move?! Spend another two years meticulously adding a Spiderman mask over his face?! At what point in the multi-year saga did Ms. Giménez feel she was on the right track, but simply didn’t have sufficient time to perfect her masterpiece? Which brings us to the next big question…

3. How did it go that wrong?

We all make spur-of-the-moment mistakes every now and then. Just the other day I inadvertently soaked my fully-clothed self while fiddling with the shower tap and standing directly under the shower (true story). However, it takes a certain twisted combination of determination and denial to methodically butcher the face of Jesus over the course of, I can’t stress this enough, freaking years.

Please take another look at that “Before” photo. Sure, the paint has fully come off in places, but Jesus is still very much recognizable as a person in possession of a face. Splash some brown paint onto those white spots and you have a very basic, yet passable repair job.

“Meh, close enough…NEXT!”

How do you manage to gradually, day-by-day, morph Jesus into an androgynous bear-like creature and at no point consult with anyone about the structure of a human face? Which, in turn, brings us to…

2. Why has nobody else noticed anything until too late?

Here it is important to note that at no point did Ms. Giménez take “Ecce Homo” home to conduct her restoration work. Her “repairs” were being done inside the church where the fresco was, “in broad daylight” and with the approval of the local clergy.

Day after day, numerous people witnessed poor Cecilia labour over what looked increasingly like a bandaged head trauma victim screaming in agony through what was once a functioning mouth. Nobody, not a single person, thought that maybe, just maybe, Cecilia wasn’t quite the next Leonardo da Vinci. Nobody questioned whether this 80+ year old lady was the right woman for the job, even after seeing her systematically remove all human features from the two centuries old fresco.

Or maybe they did notice! Maybe they enjoyed watching this train-wreck unfold before their very eyes and waiting to see just how bad it gets? Afterall, isn’t that the reason people watch Jersey Shore and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo?

1. Why no Kenny connection?

Now for the final and by far the most pressing question. Why, despite so many memes and parodies of the fresco, did nobody bring up its uncanny resemblance to Kenny from South Park? Kenny, with his brown-orange hoodie and his face devoid of everything but eyes?! Am I the only one noticing this?!

Oh My God, you ruined Jesus! You BASTARD!

I, for one, am eagerly awaiting the inevitable Youtube video remix starring Ecce Homo Jesus as Kenny McCormick! Aren’t you?!

What are your thoughts on Ecce Homo restoration? Do you have any unanswered questions of your own? Do you think Kenny was involved?!

28 thoughts on “4 questions sparked by the “Ecce Homo” restoration

  1. Another brilliant post! Just think of the collective denial of those people watching this woman work on this painting. I wonder if they sent Facebook messages to each other about it?
    My laugh out loud moment was here: “Meh, close enough… next!”


  2. Verona says:

    The “4 Questions Sparked by the “Ecce Homo” Restoration” article is hilarious!! This story never gets old. As a matter of fact, it should replace The Emporer’s New Clothes as the ‘go-to’ parable promoting “see something. say something”. Frankly, I think it’s the work of the Illuminati. . .


  3. I found every one of your descriptions of the portrait extremely entertaining. From “nightmarish marshmellow man” to “a bandaged head trauma victim screaming in agony through what was once a functioning mouth.” Genius observations! I was laughing out loud throughout this post. Great job!


  4. kianwi says:

    But really, who are we to say that Jesus DIDN’T look like that? I mean, it’s possible that it was simply divine inspiration guiding her to actually fix what was wrong with the original painting, right?


  5. Chubby Chatterbox says:

    Europe in general and Spain in particular are filled with images of Jesus, most of them old but definitely not noteworthy. This fresco has been ignored for centuries but now is being seen around the world. Say what you will about this old woman’s artistic skills (dreadful as they are) but she does know how to capture attention. Andy Warhol would have adored her restoration.


  6. Daniel, this is classic Nest! I must admit this news article did slip past me until I saw your post. What a brilliant comparison between Mr. Bean and lady Cecilia Giménez. I love Mr. Bean, and it was great re-seeing that classic scene.

    BTW… fine bit of research and journalism.

    Michael A. Walker
    Defying Procrastination


  7. Gloria says:

    Haha… I LOVE Kenny and am so happy to see him featured here. It’s been a long while since I even thought about him – but you’re so very right – there is a definite resemblance to the modified Jesus. Maybe you were just made to think that this took place in the real world – maybe it all happened within the confines of an padded cell… Maybe an inmate needed their self-confidence restored and so the whole thing was contrived to make them feel important? There must be some proper explanation!


    • Maaaaaaybe it was just an attempt to make Jesus get some spillover popularity from Kenny?! Clearly Kenny is the more well-known and liked of the two?! The truth is – we’ll never know, but the truth is out there!

      Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your weekend


  8. Great post Dude!… As always, it made me chuckle…
    I had not heard of this story so thank you for reporting it… I think, in future, I will forgo the News At Ten and instead catch up with world events by visiting your blog…
    I, for one, prefer the new version of the painting as, to me, Jesus looks somewhat like a chimpanzee…and doesn’t EVERYONE like chimpanzees?…


    • Yes, please forego all other inferior information sources. This blog is the only place to get unbiased and totally up-to-date commentary on the world!

      Also, good point! Maybe this was all just a huge publicity stunt to give Jesus a re-birth? A monkey re-birth?

      Glad you liked the post, thanks for dropping by and commenting!


  9. Grigor Dimitrov says:

    She had restored it many times over the years, mostly the tunic part. It wasn’t that this current restoration to the face took many years. She had been working on its current form for a few weeks and then took a vacation and intended to come back and “finish” but the massacre was discovered in the meantime.


  10. Ha! Love the Kenny comparison. I was actually reminded of South Park when I saw the fresco (or should I freak-so?) Beauty, they say, is in the eye of the beholder… but that is definitely NOT what was in Ms. Gímenez’s eye. Maybe it was constipation…


    • Poor Ms. Giménez, trying to do something nice and ending up with a hilarious monstrosity. That will teach her to have good intentions…and constipation!

      Glad I’m not the only one seeing Kenny…first Justin Bieber in a Czech movie, now this?!


  11. I will admit I had not heard of this story–and I follow the news regularly. So thank goodness for Nest Expressed. Good grief, this is either highly sad or highly comical. And you’re right–it does look like Kenny! Either that or someone who’s just had a seizure. All that’s missing is a little drool.

    I shouldn’t poke fun at others’ troubles, but as always, you make me laugh. So I blame you for any inappropriateness on my behalf.


    • Well, I probably would have missed the story myself, if it wasn’t for the pervasiveness of Facebook!

      It’s definitely both hilarious and sad, one can’t help feel sorry for the lady trying to do a good deed. But on the other hand – KENNY!

      Free pre-weekend laughs on the house, enjoy.


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