Since the makeover, the image has attracted more than 150,000 tourists from around the world — Japan, Brazil, the United States — to the gothic 16th century Sanctuary of Our Lady of Mercy on a mountain overlooking Borja. Visitors pay one euro, or about $1.25, to study the fresco, encased on a flaking wall behind a clear, bolted cover worthy of the Louvre’s Mona Lisa.
It’s also made Cecilia Giménez sort of famous. She’s known, according to the Times, “Madonna-like, as simply Cecilia.” She’s also “celebrated” every August 25th, the day she ruined the fresco. The Times continues:
This Christmas, the image of her “Ecce Homo” is stamped on the town’s lottery tickets. The portrait also plays a bit part in a popular Spanish movie, with a couple of thieves trying to steal it… In the economic crisis of the last six years, 300 jobs vanished, [Borja’s mayor, Miguel Arilla] said, but with the tourism boom, restaurants remained stable. Local museums, [Arilla] added, also benefited. The nearby Museum of Colegiata, housed in a 16th century Renaissance mansion, experienced a rise in annual visits to 70,000 from 7,000 for its religious, medieval art.
So what was a hysterical disaster actually turned out to be not so bad. Gimenez, too, has made some cash off of her mistake, selling other original artworks. You know some Internet-savvy hipster wants one, ironically, for the holidays.