Fresco Disaster in Spain Reveals the Importance of Art Protection

We’re almost sure that by today most of the world has seen the above image. It’s a famous fresco (a special technique of mural painting) called Ecce Homo (Behold the Man). The piece was originally created by a woman named Elias Garcia Martinez and has been in place for over a century in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain.

Years of sitting in the damp church brought deterioration and corrosion to the painting, as seen on the left side of the above image. So an 80-year-old parishioner took it upon herself to “restore” the painting; something she claims was permitted by the head priest, although those involved with the church and the painting find that very hard to believe.

Art historians and those from the city’s cultural affairs department are scheduled to meet with the woman soon to see what she used for the painting and discuss restoration options. The fresco has received a new title since the controversy, and is now mockingly being referred to as Ecce Mono, meaning “Behold the Monkey.”

While no one is ready to take legal action, we can’t help but wonder what could have been done to prevent this.

When dealing with artwork in churches, museums, or historical buildings, there are ways to protect the work without taking anything away aesthetically. Gallery posts placed around the area, regular post and rope systems, or retractable belt barriers are all good options. Freestanding sign frames – or those attached to posts and stanchions – with a message alerting visitors not to touch or keep a certain distance will also do the job.

Here at LineLogic we have a museum specialist on hand, who works directly with museum facilities and marketing managers to develop crowd control and exhibit protection solutions for their facilities. Mr. Lankes is available by phone or email, and if you have any questions, he would be happy to help. Please see his contact info below.

Ben Lankes
Account Executive | Line Logic
1.888.404.7892 x 404 Toll Free
1.716.860.8519 Mobile

It’s sad to see such a beautiful work of art tampered with in this manner. With the right equipment, we believe situations like this can be avoided in the future.