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The Traveller's Magazine
  •   2 min read

When images of a recently failed restoration attempt of century old Christ painting in Spain surfaced, it was instant material for laughs and spoofs. Restoration experts and culture preservationists are angered that an amateur would attempt such a thing but could Spain have a new tourist attraction on their hands?

The painting can be found in the town for Borja, in the north-eastern regions of Spain not far from Zaragoza, in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church. Some say it’s the world’s worth restoration job and that’s exactly why it’s the centre of attention, drawing hundred of tourists to this sleepy Spanish town.

Good intentions

A local women, well into her 80’s, had good intentions to restore the flaking oil painting of Christ wearing a crown of thorns herself. She started with the tunic but it all went downhill when she reached the face. According to one correspondent,

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

The fresco, only 102 years old isn’t of any particular value but has a high sentimental value for the locals. It was painted by Elias Garcia Martinez and has been the pride of the town since. While the local government scurries to try to find a solution to reverse the “catastrophic” restoration, an online petition is in place with 18,000 signature to keep it as it is.

Ecce Homo, reworked

If you want to visit the Iglesia del Santuario de Misericordia, it’s easiest to reach from Zaragoza. From there, hire a car and travel north-west via the A-68. Once you reach the small town, it won’t be hard to find the church. And if you stop to ask a local, they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about!

Should the painting stay as it is, or should the local council reverse the restoration?


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