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Holy fail! Cecilia Prize crowdsources botched Jesus fresco

Ecce Homo: Behold the Internet meme. After a woman in Spain seriously ruins the restoration of a prized Jesus painting, creative Netizens go wild with their own riffs.

Elias Garcia Martinez's painting before and after Cecilia Gimenez's restoration work.
The Cecilia Prize

Oh, Internet! Is nothing, not even a prized fresco of Jesus, safe from your creative but snarky clutches?

Amateur art restorers the world over have taken to Twitter to share their digital restorations of "Ecce Home" (Behold the Man), a painting by Elias Garcia Martinez that's more than a century old. They have given the image googly eyes, bow ties, and sunglasses, and bestowed upon it the visage of a cat, a bear, Big Bird, Batman, and Susan Boyle, among others.

But which of these restorations will win the coveted Cecilia Prize? It's named after Cecilia Gimenez, who became famous (and infamous) when news broke recently that she took it upon herself to restore the deteriorating painting in the Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Borja, Spain.

"Ecce Homo" gets the Gaga treatment from Twitter user @Starla_Sioux. Twitter user @Starla_Sioux

Unfortunately, while the 80-year-old Gimenez appeared to have approached the restoration with good intentions (she claimed to have gotten the priest's permission to do the job), the result reveals her clear lack of restoration experience.

"The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic," BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser is quoted by BBC News as saying.

Enter the Internet.

Amateur art restorers are hash-tagging their own creations #ceciliaprize on Twitter, where the parody account @FrescoJesus (bio: once a handsome fresco, now a hedgehog) is regularly tweeting such laments as "So I tell her like, hey make me look like Brad Pitt" and "I finished my photo shoot for Animal Planet."

A Pinterest gallery of 1,500-plus Cecilia Prize restorations allows you to browse the amusing masterpieces side by side. The winner nets a poster of the restored, simian-like "Ecce Homo."

Spanish authorities, meanwhile, said they are considering taking legal action against Gimenez, according to The New York Times, though they insist their priority is restoring the painting with the help of art historians more experienced than Gimenez. Cecilia Prize entrants not included, we assume.