An artist's 'shocking' attempt at restoring a vandalised baby Jesus statue has sparked ridicule and left Canadian churchgoers stunned.
Heather Wise volunteered to fix the statue when she noticed the head of baby Jesus had been knocked off the white stone statue at St. Anne des Pins church in Sudbury, northern Ontario.
The artist told Sudbury.com she was 'sad' about the apparent act of vandalism and got permission from Father Gerard Lajeunesse, who works at the church, to create a replacement head from clay.
Father Lajeunesse told CBC News the terracotta replacement had left many of his parishioners disappointed and surprised.
"It really is shocking to the eyes because of the big contrast in colour," he told CBC's Marina von Stackelberg.
"It's a first try. It's a first go. And hopefully what is done at the end will please everyone. I wasn't trained for this in seminary."
Father Lajeunesse said the statue has been vandalised before and believes it would cost between C$6,000 ($6300) and C$10,000 ($10,500) for a custom-made stone replacement.
The online reaction has also been negative, with one person commenting on the CBC site: "Looks like a Halloween prank!"
Another noted: "No head would be better than that head."
"Someone there could start a fundraiser to get the head replaced," suggested another.
The artist responsible says the clay head is just a temporary measure, adding that she hopes to eventually sculpt one out of stone, although she admits has never worked with the material before.
"I am privileged to be able to do this," she told the Sudbury website. "To do a statue of baby Jesus for a church is like an honour of my entire art career."
The restoration attempt has been likened to the efforts of an elderly woman who destroyed a 19th-century fresco in Spain.
In March, this Spanish castle restoration, below, was ridiculed after a 'disastrous' repair project.