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A bid to restore a 19th century fresco in a Spanish church has gone horribly wrong, with Jesus transformed into what one commentator has described as something out of Planet of the Apes.

The painting ‘Ecce Homo’ by the artist Elias Garcia Martinez, had been displayed in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church at Borja near Zaragoza for 120 years.

Churchgoer Cecilia Giménez decided she would try to renovate it. The trouble was she wasn’t quite up to the job.

“The priest was aware…he knew,” she insisted. “Of course I did it because I was told to do it… “

Asked by a television journalist whether she hid while she was carrying out the ‘restoration’, Giménez said: “No, everybody that came into the church saw me. I never tried to hide”.

Today the artist’s granddaughter Teresa García surveys the damage, finding it hard to take in what’s happened to her family treasure.

“Before she had only touched the robe, but the problem came when she started on the head,” she said. “Clearly she has destroyed the painting”

The transformation has given ideas to other would-be artists on the internet where the faces of everyone from Michael Jackson to the Pink Panther have been superimposed on the original fresco.

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