Somewhere a choir of angels are doubled over laughing hysterically. In the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, hangs a “restored” painting gone very wrong. No, it wasn’t destroyed by a graffiti artist. It’s not sporting a moustache, either. It’s just been… altered.
The painting is one by Elias Garcia Martinez called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man), which has hung in the church for more than 100 years. But after a century of exposure to light and air, paint had chipped off, the color had faded and the piece of art no longer pleased God.
And God said, “Religion has enough of the decaying, decrepit and flaky. This is an eyesore. Fix it!”
So, one of the faithful parishoners was listening that day. She heard His voice over the droning of the priest or the clanging of the organ. The woman, a dabbler in her 80s, thus imbued with the Holy Spirit (or the spirit of Thomas Kinkade), packed up her poster paint, chalk, crayons and felt tip pens and transformed the face of Homo:
Some art critics might call her style, “primitive” as a way to discount her work. But I clearly see the influence of accomplished, well-known artists who gave the world Hello Kitty, Squidbillies, and Ernie of the Muppets.
Cultural officials—oh, yes, THEY had to get involved—wet their pants over it. And then gathered at a hastily arranged cultural meeting to discuss their options:
1. Attempt to repair the paint-over. They’re interrogating the artist now (recall the Spanish Inquisition) to find out exactly which of the 16 Silly Scents Crayola Crayons were used: Dingy Dungeon or Alien Armpit?
2. Pretend that the patron saint of painters, Catherine of Bologna, inhabited the body of the elderly restorer, and leave the painting as is but charge admission.
3. Take it down, photograph it, put it on a t-shirt and sell millions of them through the web company, Threadless. I might do that for them:
Whatever the Cultural officials decide to do, their little church hit the map this past week. Perhaps donations will pour in and the church will be able to afford an entire gallery of religious paintings or a Starbuck’s franchise in the rectory.
God works in mysterious ways.