Bad Art Restoration Inspires Opera

With just a few strokes of a paintbrush, Cecilia Giménez unwittingly became one of Spain’s best-known living painters. The honor was dubious, with Giménez famous for all the wrong reasons after her attempt at restoring a painting of Christ in her local church in 2012. Phrases such as “the worst restoration in history” and “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic” were used to describe her attempt to repair the 1930 artwork – a depiction of Christ with a crown of thorns in a style known as Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). Now Giménez, 83, has found herself back in the spotlight, as preliminary rehearsals begin for an American comic opera inspired by her story. “When I first read about Cecilia, it struck me that this would make a terrific piece,” said Andrew Flack, who wrote the libretto for the new opera, Behold the Man. “What Cecilia did is miraculous in some way.”

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