Cecilia Gimenez, of Borja, Spain, has worked a miracle — sort of. Recall that the octogenarian baffled the world by "defacing" the Ecce Homo ("Behold the man") fresco before somehow winning the favor of the Internet last year. Now, it turns out that Gimenez has managed to raise over $66,000 for charity from the 40,000 people who have traveled to see her terrible restoration of the work of art at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church.
Her fresco, now dubbed Ecce Mono ("Behold the monkey"), "has become a major (if ironic) tourist attraction, raising much-needed funds for the local community," reports The Independent's Matilda Battersby.
That's not bad for someone who was thought to have destroyed a masterpiece. Last year, people were (briefly) outraged that Gimenez, 81, had taken it upon herself to give Ecce Homo an unsolicited restoration, one that cannot be undone — and which resulted in Jesus sorta looking like a fuzzy snowman-monkey hybrid.
Turns out that, according to the BBC, "Gimenez and the local council are also set to sign a merchandising deal" to further bolster the popularity of the "Monkey Christ." So now who's laughing?
Gimenez's success is also a weird validation of the Internet's hunger for memes. After the initial outrage, people began to actually fall in love with her botched restoration. It showed up on sites like Reddit, and a thousand memes, like the Ecce Mona (pictured at right), were born.
This does not mean, however, that individuals should take it upon themselves to restore treasured works of art. There is only so much Internet memes can do.