I have always maintained that there are no mistakes in art. Alas, the recent botched restoration of a 19th century mural painting depicting Christ in the Santuario de Misericordia Church in Borja, Spain by octogenarian Cecilia Giménez might have made me think twice. Ecce (behold):
Now, stop laughing for about 30 seconds. Imagine you are in an art class and your teacher asks you to define the purpose of art. You might offer that art is created to express one’s self, expose human or political conditions, recreate nature or simply bring beauty to the world. As for myself, I would answer that my purpose is to inspire others to create and to make them happy. You might have as many answers as you would have students. And I will venture out on a limb to make the sweeping statement that none of the interpretations are wrong. Usually.
Enter dear Cecilia and her paint brushes. For those of you who may have been under a rock or crawling about the planet Mars along with the Rover for the last couple of weeks, Cecilia took it upon herself to go from her usual touch-up of the Lord and Savior’s murky red gown to expressing her vision by repainting his face as well. Unfortunately the priests must have been on a coffee break or they would have (hopefully) prevented her from turning poor Jesus into the unnatural offspring of Taylor and Dr. Zaius.
Cecilia and the subsequent outpouring of artistic licentiousness on the net pulverized my funny bone with a sledgehammer. I cannot look at this picture without convulsing and rolling on the floor in embarrassing contortions of happiness, like a puppy getting its tummy tickled. Not to mention the pundits online who have taken this picture to an entirely new level of artistic parody. To my defense, I point to the Youtube clips of art restoration experts fighting to keep a straight face while being interviewed about the matter on TV.
Thank you, Cecilia. There are hundreds of people lined up to see what you have done. They are spending money in the shops of your town and paying the church to view this well-meant blunder. Thank you for your utter lack of remorse and your insistence that you believe yourself a good artist, despite evidence to the contrary. And, thank you most of all for the pure, unexplainable, gut wrenching hilarity I feel whenever I see your "work". Nope, there are no mistakes in art.