“Restoration” of Jesus “Portrait” Goes Wrong

Anyone seen this article in the NY Times yet?

Botched Restoration of Ecce Homo Fresco

(Hope the link works. It was kinda iffy when I clicked over there)

Three versions of "ecce homo" fresco

Three versions of “ecce homo” fresco. Left to right, the original painting by Elías García Martínez, 19th Century; a deteriorated version; the restored version by Cecilia Giménez.

This article was actually brought up on my writing forum today, and I had to share. Reactions there, among Christians, atheists, agnostics, and people of many different religions, were anything from horror to hysterical laughter to eye rolling. I was one of the laughers, actually, and I mean slap-my-thigh-and-rock-back-and-forth laughter. I had to wonder, Did Jesus chuckle over it, too? Did he applaud the woman?

I could only see the humor in this after having read Beautiful Outlaw. Otherwise, I might have been just as scandalized as the people of Spain. I laughed as hard at the “restoration” as I did at the original. In fact, the original makes me cringe — far more than the restoration. Wait, I said, does he look happy, wistful, to have that crown of thorns pressed into his skin? Where’s the blood that poured out for us? Wait, there it is, one little drop on his forehead. This particular pose must have taken place before the floggings, or maybe the floggings just tickled a bit. And the mockery? Na-na-na-boo-boo, said the Romans. What kind of truth is the original supposed to be portraying anyway?

If you can’t tell, it’s the original painting that scandalizes me. And the world’s treatment of this poor lady who dared reach out a hand and attempt to recreate that silly, beloved portrait. What kind of hate mail is she receiving today? How are her neighbors treating her? Shatter the world’s perceptions of Jesus and we might as well move to Mars.


2 thoughts on ““Restoration” of Jesus “Portrait” Goes Wrong

  1. Aibird says:

    I just ran across this today, and realized it was you! (Bird from LF here.)

    By the way, I just wanted to say I agreed with you on your reaction. The original one also kinda unnerved me in the fact that Jesus was painted as a very pallid skin color – considering the ethnicity and the region he was born into, he probably wouldn’t be looking so pale. His skin would be a darker color for sure. Also, his expression seemed wistful and happy? Which doesn’t really fit with the gospel narrative either. I definitely side with you on how his expression was portrayed….

    Anyway, I hope you update again soon! I’m having fun reading through this blog.

  2. courtellyn says:

    Hey, Bird! Awesome to find you here.

    Thanks for the comments, too!

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