Toen een 81-jarige Spaanse amateur-kunstenares in 2012 de fresco “Ecce Homo” van Jezus Christus in de kerk van Borja wilde restaureren, liep het uit de hand en bleef er een hilarisch beeld over, dat nu honderden bezoekers naar een museum lokt. Het schilderij heet inmiddels op internet ‘Patato Jezus’ en bracht een wijnmaker ertoe daar een speciaal etiket van te maken. De collega’s melden:
“Beauty may be subjective, but when an amateur artist in Borja, Spain single-handedly ruined a painting of Jesus Christ beyond repair in 2012, it was obvious.
We’ve all made mistakes in public, but this one was bad — really bad. Until it wasn’t. In fact, this error transformed an obscure work of art into an international icon, a tourist destination, a popular meme, and an award-winning wine.
Cecilia Giménez, the amateur art restorer in question, was 81 years old when she attempted to restore the flaking fresco called “Ecce Homo,” or “Behold the Man,” which had adorned a wall of the Santuario de Misericordia Church (Sanctuary of Mercy Church) in Borja since 1930.
By the time she smudged his mouth, flattened his nose, and turned his tragic thorn crown into a furry helmet attached to a neckbeard, the Son of God was wholly unrecognizable. Many likened him to a monkey, or a potato.
Flash-forward to 2016, when more than 160,000 people had visited the 5,000-person town of Borja to see Giménez’s disfigured fresco. “Ecce Homo the Botched” — or, as the internet lovingly anointed it, “Ecce Mono” (“Behold the Monkey”), or “Potato Jesus” — saved this small town from Spain’s economic recession.
“Ecce Homo” now has its own museum, comic opera, and a plethora of merchandise, including T-shirts, coffee mugs, and teddy bears. And the aforementioned wine? Apparently it’s very good.
Produced by Bodegas Aragonesas in Campo de Borja in Spain’s Aragon region, the Garnacha is praised for its rich and intense cherry flavors, and was even awarded a silver medal at the Mundus Vini Grand International Wine Award Spring 2016 tasting. At an average price of $5 a bottle, it’s a steal — and it’s captured the hearts of wine drinkers the world over.