I could not resist writing about the funniest news this summer: Borja's Ecce Homo, which is known as ‘Ecce Mono’ (Ecce Monkey) in social networks. This topic has prompted thousands of articles both in Internet and newspapers.
For the people who do not know about it, this is the story: Cecilia Giménez, an old parishioner from the Aragonian town of Borja, Spain, decided to restore on her own a damaged painting of an Ecce Homo by the artist Elías García Martínez in the Sanctuary of La Misericordia. It seems that a parish priest gave her the permission to carry out this task.
The restoration ended up in a terrible mess and the result was seen by the artist's granddaughter who was in the city to donate another painting by her grandfather. Authorities have asked for an assessment of the damages, so another restoration, if possible, could be carried out. Unfortunately, the damage to this picture is clearly noticeable, as can be seen in the picture below.
Some prestigious journals such as Le Monde, The New York Times, The Washington Post or the Telegraph have written articles on this topic, which has also been broadcast worldwide in outlets like Al Jazeera and the BBC.
The administrators of the blog that revealed this news have received phone calls from 160 countries around the world requesting information. Additionally, the blog, which usually had 500 views per day, had 45,000 views on August 21.
Social networks also focused on this news, and Ecce Homo was renamed as Ecce Mono, a twitter trending topic in many countries, with its own profile @eccemono and several hashtags such as #eccemono, #EcceMono, #eccehomodeborja, and so many other addressed to the responsible for the unsuccessful restoration such as #CecilaGimenez, #TodosSomosCecilia, #muyfandelaseñoramayorquequisoayudar,#GraciasCecilia, #TodosConCecilia, #restauradoaescala,#Cecilianismo,#elcuralosabia, #prayforcecilia or #BorjaConCecilia, in which it could be read comments like the ones given by carlos meixide, Sergio Puel y Hombre Revenido.
@sergiopuel : ”Eccehomocization” nueva técnica pictórica del s.XXI #graciasCecilia Aparecerá en los manuales de arte y libros de historia
@hombrerevenido: Cuando en España restauramos la monarquía tampoco nos quedó del todo bien. #prayforCecilia
marcela hinojosa foresees a very interesting aspect:
@maralhino: En Arco, en unos años, veréis ‘expresionismo borgiano’, ‘Cristo de los flemones’…#prayforCecilia
According to Cristina Delgado:
@Anakrix: La abuela de Borja planeaba alisarle el pelo a la Dama de Elche. “Los rodetes ya no se llevan”, ha declarado #eccemono
@i_lor: Bosco reconoce haber usado a #Ceciliagimenez para diseñar el chandal de la seleccion olimpica española #eccebosco
@Arma_pollo: La “restauración” del Ecce Homo es una tremenda alegoría de las medidas anti-crisis, aplicadas por alguien sin talento para la tarea
This topic has also spread to Youtube, as a matter of fact, Ecce Homo Reloaded. The Movie, has been viewed by 600.000 people.
In Facebook, there are many pages focused on this topic such as La señora que pintó el Troll de Borja (The lady who painted the Borja Troll), with more than 1,700 likes:
Propongo el cambio de nombre del pueblo de Borja por “Borja del Ecce Homo”.
And FANS de Cecilia Gimenez (Cecilia Gimenez fans), restorer of Borja ECCE HOMO with almost 7.000 fans.
Julio Gómez Heredia: Propongo reflejar la nueva imagen en los billetes de 50 euros.
Nevertheless, the most popular, which almost has 16ooo likes, is Club de fans de Cecilia Giménez la restauradora del Cristo de Borja [es] (Cecilia Gimenez, the restorer of the Borja Christ fanclub, in which you not only can see hundreds of witty comments, but you can also see photoshops illustrating this article).
What remains clear is that the well-intentioned failure of Cecilia Giménez made Borja the most popular town this summer, increasing the tourist numbers. Those tourists, besides taking pictures with the Ecce Mono, had the chance to find out the excellent wines from Borja Field, the delightful Aragonese meal and the beautiful historic mudejar-style buildings.
If you want to see Ecce Mono personally, you should hurry up because according to restorer's reports it seems there is a possibility to turn it back to normal, so Cecilia's painting will become, in a short time, one of the most popular and temporary art paintings that humanity has ever seen. Nevertheless, there is a request for keeping the painting in its current form in en Change.org which has now more than 21.000 signatures.