Get Ready for the Upcoming ‘Beast Jesus’ Documentary

Coming soon to a television near you.

Elías García Martínez, Ecce Homo (1930), and Cecilia Giménez's infamous 2012 restoration attempt.
Elías García Martínez, Ecce Homo (1930), and Cecilia Giménez's infamous 2012 restoration attempt.

Good news for fans of botched restorations: the famously flubbed restoration of Elías García Martínez’s 1930 fresco Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), is the unlikely subject of a forthcoming documentary titled Fresco Fiasco, produced by Sky Arts. It will air February 25.

The doc comes as part of the channel’s “Failure Season,” which will celebrate ostensible art fails with unexpected results, of which the restoration known as “Beast Jesus” is a shining example. It will focus on Cecilia Giménez, the octogenarian who took it upon herself to restore the work, which is painted on the Sanctuary of Mercy church in Borja, Spain.

“[“Fresco Fiasco”] revisits the much-publicized story and reveals what has become of the hapless Giménez and how her divine intervention has changed the small church forever, proving that some embarrassing failures can lead to a happy ending,” wrote a spokesperson for Sky Arts in an email to artnet News.

Cecilia Giménez Photo: YouTube/Angel Petisme.

Cecilia Giménez
Photo: YouTube/Angel Petisme.

In the film, Giménez describes the initial restoration process as well as how things eventually went wrong, and the difficult period after the story went viral.

“Reporters told the world the story of the old woman who couldn’t paint and had ruined a painting,” the Daily Mail mentions Giménez says in the documentary. “That’s not true. If it hadn’t been for me, the painting would probably have disappeared long ago.”

The film isn’t Giménez’s first time in the limelight following the incident: In 2014, she agreed to star in a music video by Spanish musician Ángel Petisme, where she got a taste of redemption by being cast as the video’s heroine.


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