After two years on board of the vessel, we thought it was high time to put on our feet on solid ground and dare a shore excursion. And which highly celebrated work of contemporary visual culture would be more fitting than the Ecce Mono (#eccemono for those of you who structure their lives according to daily trending topics) in the Spanish village of Borja.
Our inland expedition started from Getxo, where we left the Ship, anchored safely in the harbor, quite near to Marcos Lopez’ Sireno, and after visiting GetxoPhoto, which runs under the title “In Praise of Childhood” this year. Our journey southwards led us through the dry plains of Aragon, until reaching the village of Borja, and its Sanctuary of Mercy church, home of the now-famous Ecce Mono fresco, a partly restored 19th century mural painting depicting our Lord, which has garnered worldwide attention in the past… mmmh… weeks, actually.
Inside the sanctuary, we found ourselves in company of many other admirers, and had to stand in line for some time, before being able to appreciate the masterpiece. A well invested time, as it would turn out, as the privilege of entering a face-to-face dialogue with the savior is really quite different from seeing it on a screen. Not only can you truly appreciate the work of Doña Cecilia Giménez, the 85 year old artist, who painted over the fresco in an attempt to restore it, but you can also see that the colors she used are about to fall off the wall soon, especially the ones used for the ill-fitting tunic, which seem to come from her personal collection of vernis à ongles (commonly known as Nail Varnish).
Of course, we also took our photo in front of the chef d’oeuvre, without flash, in order to avoid any deterioration of the piece. After all, we are professionals.
Our first shore excursion ended with a stroll through the Monastery, which is as empty and boring as it has been for many years, before the Ecce Mono hype, which has caused a new appreciation of the ancient trade of Restoration. Maybe from now on, people will start to actually think twice before restoring monuments, and consults specialists that have been trained for years to take the right decision. Or maybe not, and it will just become another anecdote in the age of social media. Anyways, we were there when it was all happening, a story which we will be able to tell our grandchildren, in case they should still be interested in such old fashioned phenomena as twitter and facebook…
Now we are back on board, riding the waves of the Seven Seas of Visual Culture, and looking forward to the next Shore Excursion. Stay tuned!
PS: Here are some of our favorite images from the #eccemono Internet Phenomenon and the resulting real-world objects…