Fresco restored

An elderly woman in Spain has "stunned Spanish cultural officials" after setting out to restore a prized fresco at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza.

I have to admit, it's pretty good! But something's missing.

There we go. Nailed it.


  1. I feel like absolutely everyone would be better off if news of this hadn’t spread very far. I know I’m not better off for knowing.

    1. What’s wrong with the news spreading? It made me laugh, and there will probably be some rich American who believes in fairy tales that will swoop in with a bushel of dollars to ‘save’ it.

        1. Doesn’t sound like it was that ancient, if the painter’s granddaughter had just donated money for the restoration of the picture.

    2. “The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic, he says.”
      I’m feeling quite a bit better off having read that.

  2. “The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe”
    –Bob Ross

  3. Her painting reminds me of the self portraits William Utermohlen created while suffering the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease.  I wonder if this woman also once possessed artistic talent that was taken from her by dementia?

    1. Interesting point M. I am not familiar with Utermohlen, but I will read up on him. 

      If the woman’s work was on a canvass instead of a fresco, I think it would be a worthy artwork by itself. Maybe it’s just me, but there is just something about it.

  4. Am I a heartless tasteless asshole for thinking…”Oh jeez, one less portrait of Jesus on the wall of a church, where will we ever find another of those?”  

  5.  Looks pretty accurate to me.
    I think more people would be god-fearing if they thought THAT was coming after them. Nightmare invoking.

    1. Now all the parents will start bringing their children to the front of the church before the service: “Jesus knows what you did last night, Eduardo”.

  6.  There’s a reason why people get paid to do art restorations.  And those who offer to do many difficult professional jobs for free should probably be vetted, and show their work.

    Imagine: Your car’s rear differential broke, and some kid you don’t know says he’ll fix it for free.  You’d probably want to ask his parents if he’s done it before.  If he claims he had done it before, you might want to check out the person who had him do it.

    Confidence /= Competence

    1.  Yeah, but if he screws it up, my car won’t drive, and everyone would be remorseful.  Here, we have a serendipitously hilarious painting that sends me and many others into fits of giggling.

      1.  It’s not hilarious to the church.  And while I’m not religious, I do feel sorry that they got a raw deal on a unique (even if the subject matter is common to the point of cliche) painting’s restoration due to automatically trusting an overconfident amateur’s ambition and enthusiasm….

        It may be hilarious for us, but for the church and the parishioner it’s respectively mortifying, and humiliating.

        I’m just saying, if the church wanted it done properly, they should have hired a professional, or at the very least taken a look at the previous work the elderly lady had done recently.

        If Pablo Picasso offered to paint the acne off your kid’s face in a family portrait, would you expect his face to not look like a melted icecream cake when all was said and done?

        1.  Therein lies the rub, or the smear, or the brush stroke. Even a ‘failed’ attempt at ‘Art’ can thrill and delight, or be a bitter disappointment to, different people. More utilitarian things have relatively narrower criteria for success-they either work better or they don’t when the job’s done.

          I’m sure I’d be happy with any Picasso re-interpretation of my family members, probably less so with that of the well-intentioned artist in this story. So I can sympathize with the owners and fans of the original art here, but at least there’s some good coming out of it. Maybe the publicity around this thing will result in some donations to the church to find some acceptable replacement art, and they’ll worship happily ever after. It’s not like the original was so great that the world of art and art history are measurably poorer for its loss. If it were a greater work, I think it’s much less likely that the restoration would have been handled so casually.

          1. @Souse:disqus 

            Plus, Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole.

            I’m sure any guy with that many mistresses must have been called an “asshole” at some point in his life.

          2. Brainspore:
            *cough* *cough*

            (I prefer the David Bowie version)

          1. There’s a story about Picasso writing his name on the child of a person who asked for his autograph.

  7. God, I just LOVE IT. It is really, really amazing. Waaaay better than the 10×4 paintings of rando white jesus. I mean my god, that is just a way more emotional piece. I want her to paint lots of stuff.

  8. “The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic”

    It looks absolutely nothing like the description above taken from the BBC article!

  9. “There we go.  Nailed it.”

    Oh the irony of that last statement.   haaa beautifully done Rob

    1. Ouch! Apparently she wanted one to match the scroll above the picture.

      But that link said that she apparently scrubbed first paint off… and yes… from this link you can see the original picture, taken in 2010:

      The original was pretty much ok, until she started her “restoration”.

  10. Quite honestly, the new version looks much more interesting than the old one, which looks like the sort of Jesus that any reasonably talented commercial artist could churn out.

  11. This morning, a BBC writer said ” it looked like a hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic.”

    Since when were monkeys considered such snappy dressers anyway?

  12. There was so much left of the original painting it would have been like painting by numbers to finish it, although I assume the woman totally wiped the old paint off in her restoration attempt. That said, is there a test or some way of evaluating how each of us sees or perceives
    whatever it is we’re looking at? Is it possible we don’t all see everything the same way? I mean in a literal sense. Could the woman have looked at her rendition and felt totally confident it matched the original or is that where delusion steps in?

      1. How does presenting a portfolio answer any of my questions? Do you know what a non sequitor is?

          1. Dlo, I know what a portfolio is (however you put it more poetically than I would have). My question was is there a way to quantify (for lack of a better word) the levels of perceptive ability each individual has (not that my perception is better or worse than yours, for instance. Just different). Apparently the church’s priest saw her renovation the same way she did, while enough people saw no resemblance to the original and questioned the artistic ability in her version that it made it to the internet. Do we all see things the same way? How do our visions differ? If there is a difference is it genetic, cultural, how is it effected by technology or tradition, etc?

    1. Maybe it does look exactly like the original version, and our perspective is skewed. We might just be ageist and sexist!

      1. See, that’s what I was asking, sort of. You have the before and after images of the fresco. When you look at them do you see any difference at all between them ? You have the original version right in front of you and you ask if OUR perspective is skewed, ageist, and sexist. I don’t want to sound mean, but were you home schooled?

          1.  Yes, to the woman it might look just like the original. That was my question re: how do we individually percieve things we are looking at?  Do we see things exactly the same way? You’ll have to explain how ageism and sexism come into it.

        1. Ooooooohhhhh. I get it. To the woman it might look just like the original, not to us. Whooosh. That just went straight over my head. I feel like a real idiot now.

          Anyway, I hope someone with better comprehension skills is able to give you the answer you seek, and I also hope the full humorectomy works out for you.

          1. Sorry if I didn’t get your sarcasm. But if you ever taught art you might wonder WTF some of your students were looking at. And don’t get me started on  their critiques of their fellow students work.

        2. No worries, it gave me an opportunity to showcase the level of maturity and high mindedness I can bring to a discussion. (c;

  13. The article says the church has a photo of the picture. They should post that on the Internet and let the Photoshoppers at it. I bet they’ll get excellent results for free.

  14. I think that once after an all night acid trip I woke up with this woman next to me in bed. tufts of hair grew out the crack of her @ss. I swore off acid for a week.

  15. I feel a little guilty for laughing at this. I could see this being a feature in the plot of a Pedro Almodovar film.

  16. You snarky people are being way too hard on her.  How is she going to get better unless she practices?

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