Stephen Colbert Lauds Amateur Fresco Restorer’s Pluck, Entrepreneurial Spirit

Whether at the slap-happy climax of a local news broadcast, amidst a sea of chuckles on a morning show, or via the unceasing stream of “Oddly Enough” clickbait, it has been all but impossible to escape the story (and the cringeworthy evidence, pictured above) of the botched restoration of a 19th century fresco that was once the pride of the Sanctuary of Mercy Church near Zaragoza, Spain. The world pounced on the freshly disfigured Jesus Christ in “Ecce Homo,” once so skillfully rendered by Elias Garcia Martinez, after its fumbled “restoration” at the hands of a well-meaning parishioner. BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser compared the ruined portrait to “a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic,” and it wasn’t long before the swollen Christ emerged on Twitter (“Washed my head! Big mistake!” tweeted @FrescoJesus) and spawned a Tumblr: the Beast-Jesus Restoration Society. But leave it to Stephen Colbert to offer a fresh take on the story. In a recent segment, he turned the focus on the 80-year-old restorer, one Cecilia Gimenez, naming her his “Alpha Dog of the Week” (past honorees include JetBlue flight attendant Steven Slater, Silvio Berlusconi, and Domino’s Pizza) in spectacular narrative fashion: