A BOTCHED restoration job has left a stunning Spanish sculpture looking like a gormless "cartoon", critics have said.

The renovated statue, which decorates a building in the northern city of Palencia, has drawn comparisons to the so-called "Monkey Christ" painting, famously touched up by a cleaning lady in 2012.

The site was built from 1919 onwards under the direction of architect Jacobo Romero after being commissioned by the then-president of Spain's Catholic-Agrarian Federation.

It was officially opened in 1923 and has become a central feature of the city’s high street, currently serving as a branch of the bank Unicaja.

It also enjoys protected status.

The statue was reportedly rebuilt after part of it came away during previous restoration work.

Pictures of the statue were posted to social media by painter Antonio Guzman after a recent unveiling.

"It's more like a cartoon head than the artistic head of one of Palencia's most emblematic buildings," Guzman wrote.

He also compared the work to the botched renovation of Elias Garcia Martinez's Ecce Homo painting of Christ at the The Sanctuary of Mercy Church in Zaragoza, Spain in 2012.

Cleaining lady and amateur artist Cecilia Giménez, 83, tried to restore damage done to the work by moisture without seeking permission.

The Christ in the image, initially depicted wearing a crown of thorns and looking skyward, was left with what looked like fur surrounded his head and his tongue sticking out, earning the work the nickname "Monkey Christ".

In 2018, another amateur artist was fined €6,000 (£5,357) after botching a restoration on a priceless 16-century statue of St George in the northern town of Estella.

Similar damage was done to a work by baroque painter Bartolome Esteban Murillo of the Immaculate Conception earlier this year.

The repeated incidents have led conservationists in Spain to call for tighter laws to better regulate restoration work.

Other Facebook users agreed Guzman's verdict on the Palencia statue.

“It makes me want to cry, it is terrible. And to think of all the great artists we have,” said one.

“It looks like sand sculptures kids do on the beach,” said another

“My granddaughter could do better with playdough," wrote a third.

The building owners have yet to comment on the criticism.

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