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Improving Priceless Art

It takes an astute eye, a well-trained hand, and decades of experience to restore priceless art. Only the very best in the field are trusted when it comes to delicately dabbing brushes on masterpieces and cultural treasures. Among these art restoration geniuses are a select few with the uncanny ability to vastly improve upon the original work.

Elías García Martínez, fresco of Christ (left) and Cecilia Giménez’s infamous 2012 Improvements (right).

In 2102, Cecilia Giménez greatly improved on the ecce homo fresco of Jesus. This masterpiece is in the Santuario de la Misericordia, a Roman Catholic church in Borja, Spain.

At first, the authorities suspected vandalism, but soon the then eighty-year-old Giménez came forward to take credit.

The art word is notoriously finicky and there was some initial opposition to Mrs Giménez improvements. She defended herself, saying she could not understand the uproar because she had worked in broad daylight to compensate for her failing eyesight. 

Furthermore, she had worked tirelessly to corrected the lack of artistic vision in the original piece. The original life-like rendition of Jesus showed little imagination, but Giménez managed to bring it to life with her caricature painted on top.

"High art is for snobs, I’ve made this piece far more accessible for the unrefined masses." - Cecilia Giménez

Another genius in the art of art improvement is the furniture restorer, Guzmán García. 

"I’m self-taught," he says proudly. "So I’m not all hung-up on doing things by the text-book." 

García recently worked on the baroque artist Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables. 

"I greatly improved this Virgin Mary, but it took two attempts," he said. "I didn’t particularly appreciate how she was looking away from the viewer in the original. In my retouch, Mary is looking right at you. It’s far more engaging."

The Immaculate Conception of Los Venerables original (Left) and the two improved overlays

"I see many problems with the Mona Lisa," García says. "Michelangelo got the lips and eyes all wrong. I’m particularly good with lips and eyes. I’d like to have a crack at improving the Mona Lisa."


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