|A combination of three documents provided by the Centre de Estudios Borjanos on August 22, 2012 shows the original version of the painting Ecce Homo (L) by 19th-century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, the deteriorated version (C) and the restored version by an elderly woman in Spain. AFP PHOTO/CENTRO DE ESTUDIOS BORJANOS
An elderly woman's well-meaning attempt to retouch a century-old Spanish painting of Jesus may have drawn the ire of church officials and art-history buffs last week, but she's also garnered plenty of fans and turned her town into a tourist attraction.
Cecila Giminez, a parishioner in her 80s, made headlines last week when she attempted to restore a 20th-century fresco of Jesus that had been water damaged at a church in Spain in Zaragoza.
Her botched efforts, which online critics have compared to a Planet of the Apes character, infuriated officials from The Sanctuary of Mercy Church and left them scrambling to determine if the 102-year-old artwork could be saved.
A BBC Europe correspondent described the restoration as resembling "a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic."
Spanish newspaper Heraldo de Aragon reported the original painter's family believes the damage done to the artwork is "irreversible."
More than 20,000 people hope that's true. That's how many people signed an online petition as of Monday morning calling for the "new version" of the painting to be maintained.
The petition calls the restoration "daring" and "an endearing and loving act, a clever reflection of the political and social situation of our time."
Many of Giminez's fans have been flocking to the church to see her work, reports NBC News, and leaving flowers outside her home in the village of Borja.
The Citizen newspaper reports that hundreds of people have turned up at the church to see monkey-like Jesus.
Despite the onslaught of support, the original painter's family has taken a donation to have the work professionally restored.