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    THE terrible attempt at restoration of this 19th century Spanish fresco near Zaragoza in Spain might be of interest to art collectors keen to develop their eye.  The work was carried out, without permission, by an elderly woman who attempted to restore “Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man) by painter Elias Garcia Martinez at the Santuario de Misericodia church in Borja.

    The first photograph on the left was taken in 2010 and shows slight speckling.  The middle image, taken last month, shows large patches of white. There is a theory that the woman had already begun her work, and the white marks result from paint being scraped away.  The last picture shows the final result.  The face of Jesus is rendered in broad brush strokes, removing any subtlety.  The expressionless eyes are a disaster.  Thick layers of dark paint cover details including the crown of thorns. The crude destruction of the work could not be more obvious.

    A friend who collects  has long argued that any buyer of art must continually refer to the work of the masters.  In order to acquire the best an art collector always needs to keep his or her eye in.   These images, admittedly an extreme example of the transformation of a good facial image into a very bad picture, are a good demonstration of why this is so necessary.

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