Elderly Woman Ruins 19th Century Fresco in Restoration Attempt

It's one thing to stage a do-it-yourself renovation on a table, mirror or painting found deep in the weeds of a yard sale.

It's quite another to attempt a repair job on a one-of-a-kind 19th century fresco by the Spanish painter Elias Garcia Martinez with a few broad brushstrokes.

View photo

.

(Centro de Estudios Borjanos)

Such was the lesson learned by an elderly member of the Santuario de Misericodia church in Borja, in northeastern Spain. Her handiwork, or lack thereof, was discovered after the painter's granddaughter donated the work, "Ecce Homo," to the archive of religious paintings housed at the Centro de Estudios Borjano, also in Borja.

When officials from the center went to examine the work at the church a few weeks ago, they found it was not as Martinez had left it, the U.K.'s Telegraph reported.

The last photo taken of the artwork before any damage was done, in 2010, showed Martinez's intricate brush strokes around the face of Jesus. A photo taken in July by center officials for a catalog of regional religious art showed the painting splattered by white marks, possibly the work of the woman trying to remove paint. The final photo, taken this month after Martinez's relative donated the work, showed broad and thick layers of paint now covering important details in the work, such as the crown of thorns on Jesus' head.

While not a good day for art historians, local officials said the restoration attempt by the woman, said to be in her 80s, was not malicious, just misguided.

Juan Maria Ojeda, the city councilor in charge of cultural affairs, told the Spanish newspaper El Pais that the woman turned herself in and admitted causing the damage when she realized it had "gotten out of hand." He added that the woman, who was not identified, attempted to restore the work with "with good intentions."

The U.K.'s Independent reported the church and center are now trying to assess the damage to the painting and determine whether a professional can restore Martinez's work. Ojeda added that the woman herself would meet with restorers to explain what kind of materials she used to help them undo the damage.

There was no figure given on the value of the work, said to hold more sentimental than artistic value because Martinez's family is known in the local community.

View Comments (5282)

Recommended for You

  • Hillary Clinton Slams Donald Trump for Calling Women 'Pigs, Slobs and Dogs'

    As the first presidential debate was drawing to a close, Hillary Clinton took one last chance to hammer Donald Trump, hitting at his remarks on women.“This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs,” Clinton said fervently from the debate stage tonight. “And someone who has said pregnancy…

    Good Morning America46 mins ago
  • Presidential Debate: Trump Held Back on Bill Clinton's 'Transgressions' Because Chelsea Was 'In the Room'

    Donald Trump suggested that he held back on discussing former President Bill Clinton's "transgressions" during the first debate of the general election because his daughter, Chelsea, was "in the room."Speaking to ABC News' Tom Llamas in the debate spin room, Trump said he thought he did "great"…

    Good Morning America
  • Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Spar Over Taxes in First Presidential Debate

    When Hillary Clinton attacked Donald Trump for not releasing his tax returns and allegedly paying zero in federal income taxes, the Republican presidential nominee had just four words to say in response. “That makes me smart,” Trump said from the debate stage at Hofstra University tonight.

    Good Morning America
  • 10 Moments That Mattered From Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's First Debate

    Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump ushered the 2016 presidential campaign into a new phase tonight, and they did it with plenty of barbs. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have lobbed insults at each other from far away for months, but tonight they tried to start their highly anticipated face off on…

    Good Morning America
  • Debate Fact-Check: How Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Stack Up

    How often did Trump and Clinton spin facts to fit their arguments? Fact-check #1: Trump claims he did not say global warming is hoax perpetrated by the Chinese. Donald thinks that climate change is a hoax, perpetrated by the Chinese.

    Good Morning America
  • Presidential Debate: How Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Plan to Deal With Race

    Race relations have been increasingly strained in the United States in recent months in the wake of a string of police-involved shootings and killing of several police officers and they took center stage at the first presidential debate. Clinton said that race remains "a significant challenge" in…

    Good Morning America
  • Most Memorable Lines of the First Presidential Debate

    Clinton and Trump engaged in 90 minutes of nonstop debating, moderated by "NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt, to make their case to American voters, explaining why they thought they should occupy the White House. "Now, in all fairness to Secretary Clinton, yes, is that OK? It's very important…

    Good Morning America
  • 'DWTS' Season 23: Six Couples in Jeopardy After Face-Off Night in Week 3

    In the first ever “Face-Off” night on “Dancing With the Stars,” competitors performed in groups of two against each other, doing the same dance style to different songs.The celebrity who won each matchup won immunity from elimination, leaving six couples in jeopardy going into tomorrow’s two-hour…

    Good Morning America
  • Marlins Pay Tribute to Jose Fernandez by Wearing No. 16 Jersey

    The Miami Marlins today paid tribute to star pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident early Sunday, by wearing No. 16 jerseys in the first game since his death, ESPN reported. A moment of silence was held at Marlins Park, where the Miami players on the field stood surrounding the…

    Good Morning America
  • 9 Wounded After Shooting at Houston Shopping Center

    A gunman who wounded nine people near a shopping center in Houston this morning was dressed in a "military-style" uniform and had Nazi emblems, police said. Police shot and killed the gunman and he was pronounced dead on scene, according to the Houston Police Department. More than 75 shell…

    Good Morning America
  • 'Will & Grace' Cast Reunites for Hillary Clinton

    Eric McCormack, Debra Messing, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes appeared in a new video in which they discuss the 2016 campaign as their fictional characters. McCormack's Will Truman and Messing's Grace Adler are supporters of Clinton, though Karen Walker, played by Mullally, is firmly in the Trump…

    Good Morning America
  • William and Kate Take Canada by Storm

    Driving rain and wind couldn't dampen William and Kate's enthusiasm while touring Bella Bella, British Columbia, today. The royal couple had to modify their plans and scrap an aerial float plane tour of the Great Bear rain forest because of torrential rains but received a traditional welcome by…

    Good Morning America
  • To Fact-Check or Not: Campaigns Disagree on the Role of Debate Moderator

    The diverging views came after Fox News' Chris Wallace, who is moderating the third and final presidential debate, said it is not his job to judge the accuracy of the candidates' statements in real time. It's up to the other person to catch them on that," Wallace told Fox News earlier this month. …

    Good Morning America
  • Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber Split

    Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber are ending their relationship. It is with great love, respect, and friendship in our hearts that we look forward to raising our children together and exploring this new phase of our relationship," they said. Watts, 47, and Schreiber, 48, first connected at the 2005…

    Good Morning America
  • 12-Year-Old Transgender Student Delivers Powerful Speech to School Board to Fight Transphobic Rhetoric

    A 12-year-old transgender boy from Pennsylvania recently received a standing ovation and an "overwhelming amount of support" after delivering a powerful speech to his school board in an effort to counter what he saw as hateful and ignorant rhetoric about trans students, according to his mother. …

    Good Morning America
  • Who Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Invited to the First Presidential Debate

    While the biggest attraction during the presidential debate tonight will be the two candidates on stage, at least some attention will likely be paid to those in the audience. Hillary Clinton's campaign this morning released a partial list of guests invited by the Democratic presidential nominee to…

    Good Morning America
  • Beef, Veal, Bison Products Voluntarily Recalled After E. Coli Outbreak

    A voluntary recall of beef, veal and bison products has been issued by the Adams Farm Slaughterhouse over concerns the products might contain E. coli bacteria, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food Safety and inspection service. At least seven people in four states have been…

    Good Morning America