The "Monkey Christ" Fresco Is a Money-Making Hit

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Aug. 14 2013 12:08 PM

That Botched "Monkey Christ" Fresco Has Turned Into a Money-Making Hit

It's been about a year since an 81-year-old Spanish woman took it upon herself to restore a priceless fresco of Jesus with rather comical results. As you no doubt remember, Cecilia Gimenez's best intentions didn't exactly draw rave reviews. The Daily Mail likened the new-look Jesus to a werewolf, while the BBC said the son of God looked like a "very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic." Meanwhile, at Slate, we saw "E.T. when he’s riding in the basket of Elliott’s bike."

But the months that followed Ecce Homo's accidental transformation into Ecce Mono provided the latest reminder that their is no such thing as bad press. The Independent reports that the botched-restoration-turned-viral-sensation has drawn more than 40,000 visitors to the church that houses it, raising more than $60,000 for a local charity in the process. Gimenez, meanwhile, has agreed to share profits from merchandise featuring the image, and is even set to have her other artwork exhibited. "I'm happy because my neighbors are being nice to me," she told the BBC.

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Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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