A SPANISH pensioner who became an overnight celebrity following her infamous ‘restoration’ of a fresco of Jesus has helped create an unexpected tourist boom for the church.
Cecilia Gimenez, who is in her 80s, shot to fame after turning the prized image into a ‘childish picture resembling a monkey in a tunic.’
Her handy work has led to a huge rise in the number of tourists visiting the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, with the painting now roped off and watched over by security guards.
In total, up to 20,000 people are said to have visited the church in the last fortnight.
Tens of thousands of people have also signed an online petition praising Gimenez’s restoration, while countless images parodying the painting have appeared online.
But not everyone has seen the funny side, with relatives of the painter who created the work expressing their anger at the damage caused.
“Until now she just painted on the tunic but the problem started when she painted the head as well, because she has destroyed this painting,” said the artist’s granddaughter.
Experts are set to meet Gimenez to discuss what materials she used in order to help determine how best to salvage the image.