Both are artworks made with naive optimism and the same, unfortunate final result – absolute terror and a million memes
Dressing wells (yes the things you get water from) is an annual tradition in Chesterfield, a town almost exactly in the middle of England. This year, to mark 20 years since Princess Diana died, a well in Chesterfield was decorated with flowers, arranged with the intention of depicting Lady Di. The result? Oh. My. God. Yes you can see it above, but let’s take another, closer look.
Regrettably for the (presumably) well-intentioned well dressers of Chesterfield, this image looks like there is a screaming person trapped inside it, someone who was asked what they wanted to be in the next life, panicked and said "a miserable flower arrangement stuck on a well in a Brexit-voting market town”. There’s the pained expression of a wearied raver, 48 hours deep on a Creamfields bender, having taken the type of ecstasy that gets in the news.
The floral Diana tribute bears similarities to another iconic not-quite-an-artwork of our era: Ecce Homo. Known coloquially as “Beast Jesus”, it was an attempt by 83-year-old Cecilia Jiminez, an art restorer who attempted to repair a painting with terrifying results, spawning a million memes in the process. Laugh you may, but Jiminez’s art restoration job was so terrible that she actually inadvertently rescued the town’s ailing economy, as people flocked to see it. Fingers crossed for Chesterfield.
Feedback on Facebook regarding the well dressing included comments such as “bold choice from Chesterfield Council going with controversial artist Cecilia Gimenez” and “it needs taking down it's not nice at all”.
Ecce Homo and The Diana Well Dressing (as it shall now be known) are both moments in art history where beautiful, innocent naivety threw up unexpected, scary results. You can only do your best. Anyway, here are some cruel memes.