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Botched restoration turns Spanish church into tourist attraction

By now, you've probably seen the pictures out of Spain of the 19 century painting of Jesus that was "restored" by a local grandmother after decades of damage and neglect. In the wake of her botched restoration, the picture has become a sensation, spawning some hilarious parodies around the Internet. NBC News' Duncan Golestani reports.

She became a viral Internet sensation last week, mocked for her botched restoration of a century-old fresco at her local church - but Cecila Giminez has still attracted a few fans.

Flowers are being left outside the elderly woman’s home in the village of Borja, north-eastern Spain, and the damaged painting has suddenly become a tourist attraction.


The 19th-century fresco, which used to depict Jesus until Giminez’s misguided intervention, is attracting so many tourists that it has now been roped off and is watched over by a security guard.

Tens of thousands of people have signed an online petition praising Giminez’s restoration as a “daring work” and even as “endearing and loving act, a clever reflection of the political and social situation of our time”.

The family of the painter, Elias Garcis Martinez, does not see it that way – especially as they had just agreed to make a donation to have the painting professionally restored.

I can paint that! Wait, no I can't! Amateur artist messes up century-old artwork

''Until now she just painted on the tunic but the problem started when she painted the head as well, because she has destroyed this painting,'' the artist’s granddaughter Teresa Garcia told Spanish television.

Giminez, who is in her 80s, said she was trying to improve the artwork, which had become damaged by moisture, and insisted she had the permission of the priest.

A team of art restoration experts is reportedly examining the painting, will quiz Giminez on what materials she used in her attempt and will figure out how best to proceed. 

In the meantime, the restoration has been mocked in a series of Internet parodies including a fake Twitter account.

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