80 Year Old Spanish Lady Becomes Art Restorer

As we get older our body begins to wear out unless we’re very lucky or have taken particularly good care of ourselves.
Our eyesight is often one of the first things to fade or at least is noticed earlier with regular check-ups.
Apparently once we turn 50 we need 50% more light to see well. If we are managing without glasses past 60 it’s rare.

do you need glasses







According to Dr Jeffrey Jay, President of the Royal College,

“The ability to focus depends on the ability of the lens to change shape. The ability to change shape gets more restricted as you get older…[so]

It is partly that the lens gets harder, it may also be that the muscle is getting less effective.” Source:BBC


So as we age some of our abilities decline and with the eyes we might see things that we think look ok, but others with better eyesight, perhaps have a different view about. It can be the same with items like mobility equipment to help around the home. We think we don’t need a stairlift, but other people like our families or spouse may see things differently.

Should have gone to Specsavers

Nik paints Bob Dylan
Image:Flickr-Michelle Tribe

However one elderly Spanish ladies eyesight didn’t seem to have stopped her when she took it upon herself to “upgrade” a painting at her local church. Mrs Gimenez who is in her 80s attempted to restore the fresco at the church in Borja. In her defence she said it needed doing, but the authorities had other ideas and wanted to sue her for her troubles.

To be fair the restoration didn’t look great to the art connoisseurs or the family of the original artist. The fresco called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) was very quickly given the nick name Ecce Mono or Behold the Monkey! There is a picture on wikipedia here of the before and after pictures of it.

The original artist’s family wanted to sue her too for ‘destroying’ their ancestor’s Crown of Thorns depiction of Christ. As do the owners of the church, the Sancti Spiritus Hospital Foundation, who has also ‘retained lawyers to defend the action and retain their right to proceeds from visitors to the church’.

A local councillor Mr Ojeda said: “I think she had good intentions. She will meet with a repairer and explain what kind of materials she used.”

The local artist who painted the original fresco more than one hundred years ago was Elias Garcia Martinez. We wonder how he’d feel if he could see it now? He might be pleased to know that it has become an icon. That was certainly its fate as it has taken the internet by storm.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder

Its popularity grew not least with the help of budget airline Ryanair, who offered cheap deals to the nearby airport of Zaragoza. Meanwhile an Internet petition to keep the Fresco as it was in its newly restored state spread quickly and gained plenty of support.

The church cashed in and started charging a €4 entrance fee to visitors. The elderly woman with the new found artistic flair, Mrs Gimenez wanted a share of the money to go to Muscular Atrophy charities.

See a Video below of how painting a portrait should really be done.

One thing we often gain as we grow older is a confidence in our rights and our ability to do what should be done. We guess Mrs Gimenez feels this way!
If you feel inspired to take a class in drawing, painting or other artistic pursuit why not take a look at what the University of the Third Age has locally for you. You can also find courses at your local community centre or adult education college.