Archives for posts with tag: fresco

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It’s been a while since we checked in with Cecilia Gimenez, the 80-something artist from Spain who decided to dust off her paintbox and try to fix up Ecce Homo,” a flaking fresco of Christ’s face on the wall of her church.

At first, Cecilia was in trouble for botching the restoration — which was so off the mark that it even inspired a zombie-looking Halloween costume. The church threatened to sue for the cost of a professional restoration, but the situation gained so much international notoriety that soon tourists, gawkers, and art aficionados were flocking to Borja, Spain — boosting community revenues and adding to the coffers of the church, which charged a fee to view the fresco.

The next plot twist occurred when Cecilia Gimenez demanded a cut of the proceeds. I believe she also intends to trademark her artwork — which is appearing on T-shirts, coffee mugs, postcards, and other lucrative sites.

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The Cecilia Prize was established to honor the artist who has inspired so many others to pick up their paint brushes, colored markers, Bic pens, and worn-down pencils — and begin to create art. The contest has received over 5,000 submissions from people offering their own wild and varied forms of “Ecce Homo” restoration. Whether you are a believer, nonbeliever, atheist, or agnostic, The Cecilia Prize is a philosophical exercise in contemplating the endless faces of the ineffable, the mysterious, and the creative spirit.

In this blog, we’ve featured entries that serve as homage to famous paintings or are rendered in the style of renowned artists (Warhol and Picasso, for example). Today’s entry by Mark Ferguson is based on René Magritte‘s celebrated painting “The Treachery of Images” (1929). The French phrase in the painting (“Ceci n’est pas une pipe”) means “This is not a pipe.” The joke is that it’s not a pipe — just a picture of one. (Sort of like “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV.”)

I have a feeling that the Belgian Surrealist would have enjoyed the whole Cecilia Gimenez passion play. According to my go-to source (okay, it’s Wikipedia), René Magritte‘s work “challenges observers’ preconditioned perceptions of reality.” And, after all, isn’t Cecilia Gimenez doing the same thing?

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It’s been a while since we checked in with Cecilia Gimenez, the 81-year-old amateur art restorer from Borja, Spain — now famous for her botched restoration of her church’s fresco “Ecce Homo.” Cecilia is back in the news. Until now, she has been waiting for the church to slap her with a bill for a professional restoration of the fresco — but the tables have turned.

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Her painting is now drawing tourists — and the church is charging for a glimpse of the fresco. Spanish newspaper El Correo reports that Cecilia has sought legal representation to copyright her work and obtain royalties for it.

Judging by the way Cecilia is clutching her wallet in the photo at the top of this post, I’d say she has a good chance of winning. 

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The Guardian has reported that online sensation Cecilia Gimenez — who rose to prominence through her botched art restoration of a 19th Century fresco — is suffering from stress and anxiety.

According to the British publication, “Cecilia Giménez, the well-intentioned amateur restorer from the Spanish city of Borja, is reportedly in bed after an anxiety attack, with neighbours and relatives suggesting she feels overwhelmed because of the media frenzy over the unintentional damage she caused to the mural.”

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We wish Cecilia a speedy recovery and hope she is up and about very soon. For those unfamiliar with her work included at left is a before and after version of Andy Warhol‘s portrait of Marilyn Monroe.

Get well, Cecilia!

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Before her art restoration at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church was rudely interrupted by local officials in Borja, Spain, Cecilia Gimenez, 81, intended to repair the neglected 19th century fresco to work off some her Purgatory time. Let’s face it, at Cecilia’s advanced age, she thinks about such things — thinks about them a lot!

Now, Cecilia has found a new way to apply her artistic talents — and do good works that will shave away some time in the fiery furnace. (Note for Non-Catholics: Purgatory is like hell — only temporary.) She has volunteered at a Spanish tattoo parlor (see below), where she has agreed to tattoo images of winged beings onto the assorted and sundry body parts of the unholy unwashed.

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Cecilia thought this penance would be akin to the Lord washing the apostles’ feet, but so far it hasn’t worked out that way. To date, she has not felt a sublime union with the divine — but has only experienced an endless barrage of ridiculous requests for unnameable creatures and obscene sayings.

When she offered to draw winged creatures on the tattoo parlor patrons, she thought she would be inking in angels, cherubs, and even an archangel or two. Instead, she’s faced with persnickety customers who expect her to recreate intricate drawings of Pegasus and every last flying demon from the Inferno.

Cecilia has decided to keep the gig until she figures out another way to do penance through good works.

Photo: 9gag.com

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Cecilia Gimenez, 81, still doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about — and has no idea why news outlets around the world are criticizing her handiwork. (The arbiters of taste don’t like the way she restored a 19th century fresco of  Christ on the wall of her church in Borja, Spain.) But she knows her work is excellent — no matter what the elitists say.

After all, didn’t an early critic call Henri Matisse‘s work, “A pot of paint thrown in the face of the public”? Didn’t the art world call Picasso‘s cubist paintings “devilish and insane”? Didn’t they call Dali‘s surrealist works “deranged”? Cecilia feels that these examples — and many more  she won’t bother to cite — prove that the art elite don’t know the real thing when they see it.

But there was one art critic who understood — Clement Greenberg, who said: “All profoundly original art appears ugly at first.” So there!

Despite all the media attention, Cecilia found time to apply her craft to an Andy Warhol masterwork — his portrait of Marilyn Monroe (below). (For the uninitiated, Cecilia Gimenez’s version is on the right.) When asked why she had selected this particular painting for her next effort, Cecilia responded that she’s long been an admirer of the American icon and for years has modeled her hairstyle on the deceased blonde’s locks.

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Unless you’ve sworn off the news during the past few days, you’re familiar with Cecilia Gimenez, the 81-year-old attempting to shave off a few Purgatory points by doing some good works — in this case, restoring a 19th century fresco of Christ on the wall of her church in Borja, Spain.

For the record (and this is why I’m not showing how she ruined the icon), this blog assiduously avoids discussions of religion or politics — that’s not our territory. But I couldn’t resist commenting on this story — there are so many levels and layers to it.

First, it’s a fine example when your children ask, “What does it mean when someone says ‘the road to hell is paved with good intentions’?”

Second, it shows the value of getting regular eye checkups. I have to wonder if Cecelia Gimenez has cataracts. Before her cataract operation, my mother could not distinguish yellow from white or brown from purple. She had the front door of her house painted a Barney purple, thinking it was “umber” (true story, and I have the photos to prove it!).

Third, I’m wondering if the other parishioners stopped Cecilia Gimenez before she was finished with her work. (You know how messy works-in-progress can look!)

Finally, I feel this story expresses the importance of art education — and why we need to support funding for the arts (hey, that sounds political).

Cecilia Gimenez refuses to repent for her sins (mortal? venial?) and appears belligerent, arrogant, self-satisfied, defiant, and convinced her work is beautiful. Wait a minute. She sounds like most of the artists I know. Welcome to the club, Cecilia!

Articles about this art restoration debacle have swept the Internet — but my favorite is a piece at hyperallergic.com called “Octogenarian Restorer Strikes Again.” The brilliantly written article imagines what Cecilia Gimenez could accomplish if allowed to restore some of the world’s art treasures, including Andy Warhol‘s portrait of Elizabeth Taylor  (below), Munch’s “The Scream,” Van Gogh‘s self-portrait, Vermeer‘s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” and Leonardo‘s “Mona Lisa.”

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