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Ecce Homo, Borja

1.8
#56 of 81 in Sightseeing in Province of Zaragoza
Landmark Tourist Spot
The Ecce Homo in the Sanctuary of Mercy church in Borja, Spain, is a fresco painted circa 1930 by the Spanish painter Elías García Martínez depicting Jesus crowned with thorns. Both the subject and style are typical of traditional Catholic art. While press accounts agree that the original painting was artistically unremarkable, its fame derives from an attempt to restore the fresco by an untrained amateur in 2012.The original muralThe artist, a professor at the School of Art of Zaragoza, gave the painting to the village where he used to spend his holidays, painting it directly on the wall of the church about 1930. He commented that "this is the result of two hours of devotion to the Virgin of Mercy". His descendants still reside in Zaragoza and were aware that the painting had deteriorated seriously; his grand-daughter had made a donation toward its restoration shortly before they discovered Cecilia Giménez's attempt to restore it.Failed restoration attempt and phenomenonThe authorities in Borja said they had suspected vandalism at first, but then determined that the alterations had been made by an elderly parishioner. The woman, Cecilia Giménez, who was in her 80s, said on Spanish national television that she had tried to restore the fresco, because she was upset that parts of it had flaked off due to moisture on the church’s walls. Giménez defended herself, saying she could not understand the uproar because she had worked in broad daylight and had tried to salvage the fresco with the approval of the local clergy. “The priest knew it,” she told Spanish television. “I’ve never tried to do anything hidden.”
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74 reviews
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  • I wanted to visit this place since Cecilia's restoration became viral. It didn't disappoint. It only costs a couple of euros to visit and the Sanctuary it's on is actually pretty nice. They also have ...  more »
  • Please be aware: the location of Ecce Homo is marked incorrectly in Tripadvisor! It is *not* within easy walking distance of the Borja city center. It doesn't help that the Santuario de Misericordia a...  more »
  • You have to really want to travel out of your way to find the Sanctuary of Mercy church in Borja, Spain. What was interesting was the original mural was not that old comparatively, having been painted...  more »

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