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International Law

Woman Seeks Royalties re Botched Volunteer Restoration of Church Masterpiece, Now a Tourist Magnet

Posted Sep 20, 2012 3:24 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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An elderly Spanish woman who was threatened with a lawsuit by descendants of an artist whose historic church fresco of Jesus she ruined in a botched effort to restore the face of Christ on the artwork is now seeking royalties.

After the modified masterpiece—which is now being called "ecce mono" (behold the monkey), rather than "ecce homo" (behold the man)—became an unlikely tourist attraction, the church began charging an admission fee, the Telegraph explains.

Now Cecilia Gimenez, who is in her early 80s, has reportedly retained counsel and is seeking a piece of the pie.

"She just wants the church to conform to the law," said attorney Enrique Trebolle. "If this means economic compensation, she wants it to be for charitable purposes."

The church, the Sanctuario de Misericordia, is owned by the Sancti Spiritus Hospital Foundation. It reportedly has also retained counsel and plans to defend any legal action seeking a share of the proceeds.

Additional coverage:

New York Times (reg. req.): "Despite Good Intentions, a Fresco in Spain Is Ruined"

Slate: "Elderly Woman Who Accidentally Turned a Priceless Fresco Into a Viral Hit is Suing For Royalties"

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