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The art world (and much of the internet) has been in a tizzy recently about a well-meaning elderly Spanish woman's thoroughly botched attempt to restore a 19th centure fresco entitled Ecce Homo (Behold the Man) by Elias Garcia Martinez. For more than a century the painting has held price of place at the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain. Over the years the painting had deteriorated due to exposure to humidity. Cecilia Jiminez was distressed by the sorry state of the beloved portrait and took it upon herself to attempt to restore it:
BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser says the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez have been buried under a haphazard splattering of paint. The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic, he says. The woman appears to have realised she was out of her depth and contacted Juan Maria Ojeda, the city councillor in charge of cultural affairs.
Professional restorers plan to examine the painting to determine if proper restoration is possible. In the meantime, the Archie McPhee staff decided to attempt their own "restoration" of one of our Jesus Action Figures:
The results bear an uncanny resemblance to the current unfortunate state of the Ecce Homo fresco.[Quoted text via BBC News]
Sure, we've been featured in the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, but for us the highlight of our mentions in the press came in 2002 when the now web-only Weekly World News called about the Jesus Action Figure. They were everything you would hope they would be. The woman who called had a scratchy smoker's voice and was shocked when we said we were big fans. My guess is that no one had ever told her that before.
We were happy to supply a quote that implied the action figure had healing qualities without promising anything. She was glad to get it because, she said, they had to make up quotes most of the time. The article was published under her pen name, Max Durango.
They published a follow up story without asking for another quote.
Although we did sell a lot of action figures as a result of the articles, we got returns from people who didn't get healed by it.