A Spanish woman whose botched restoration of a century-old fresco of Jesus became an international laughingstock now wants a slice of the revenues the work is generating, as thousands of tourists are drawn to the church.
According to the Spanish newspaper El Correro, the octogenarian amateur restorer has hired a lawyer and wants to copyright the image, which a BBC correspondent likened to “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.”
The ham-fisted restoration by Cecilia Gimenez became an internet sensation in August, and since then has attracted an estimated 30,000 visitors to the church in the northern town of Borja, according to the paper.
The church decided to charge a one-euro admission fee for visitors, collecting about 2,000 euros in four days, which prompted the woman’s family to seek royalties for the work.
The non-profit foundation responsible for the church has hired its own lawyers and is considering a lawsuit over the botched restoration.
The original painting, titled Ecce Homo, or Behold the Man, was painted in 1910 by an artist called Elias Garcia Martinez. Visitors have suggested it should be retitled Behold the Monkey.
The Irish airline Ryanair offers a special discounted flight to the nearest Spanish airport in Zaragoza for those wanting to view the celebrated work.