Botched Fresco Opera.

Cecilia Giménez's paintings. Arnau Bach / New York Times.

Cecilia Giménez’s paintings. Arnau Bach / New York Times.

Andrew Flack and Paul Fowler are currently working on a comic opera about Giménez’s life and how the mistake that initially horrified her (and the internet) ended up saving her small town from an economic slump, The New York Times reports. The painting, which was mocked in memes, a Saturday Night Live segment, and with comparisons to the 1997 film Bean: The Ultimate Disaster Movie, became a tourist attraction that spurred a 1,000 percent increase in visits to the local medieval art museum and revitalized the town’s restaurant business.

When the pair began work on the musical in 2014, Flack told the Times, “It’s a story of faith. … Why are people coming to see it if it is such a terrible work of art? It’s a pilgrimage of sorts, driven by the media into a phenomenon. God works in mysterious ways. Your disaster could be my miracle.”

The real story is full of dramatic tidbits, like local wineries bickering over the right to display “Potato Jesus” on their wine labels. Also, the two-faced priest who initially threw Giménez under the bus by denying that he gave her permission to work on the fresco ended up banished from town — he was accused of embezzling 168,000 euros from the church.

Most compellingly, it seems as though the whole scandal occurred because photos of the fresco were released long before Giménez had finished her attempted restoration. Her other artwork is gorgeous! I can’t wait to see how the fictional Giménez’s heroic redemption plays out.

The Verge has the full story. Given the er, botch of styles to be all mixed together in this opera, I hope it works out for everyone.


  1. says

    There was a lawsuit or settlement over the copyrights to the ruined artwork. I believe the artist who vandalized the painting wants half of the boxoffice from the increased visitors.

    God moves in mysterious ways indeed, especially when money is involved!

  2. says


    I believe the artist who vandalized the painting wants half of the boxoffice from the increased visitors.

    Oh for…no, no words. None at all.

Leave a Reply