Thursday, February 28, 2008

A Shroud of Mystery

Continuing on with the holy relics theme, of which there is an abundance of in Italy, I paid a visit to the most famous, controversial and studied relic, The Shroud of Turin. It resides in the renaissance cathedral of St. John the Baptist Church in Torino. It is a linen cloth that is believed to be the cloth that covered Jesus when he was placed in his tomb and that his image was recorded on. For every scientist that believes it is a mid evil forgery, there are two that believe it is authentic. It has been studied endlessly and each time a new conclusion is made especially when technology advances. The shroud has survived damage from travel, time, two fires, exchanged hands by many, publicly exhibited, and being poked and prodded by examiners over the years. The most interesting thing for me is the impact the shroud made on art history. The image found on the cloth is of a man with a beard and mustache, long hair and a long thin nose (as you can see in the photo). This image had a direct impact on how artists represented Jesus in painting. The image seen on the shroud has always been used and accepted as the model for Christ. This is where we get the universally accepted likeness still used today. In 1452 the shroud passed to the hands of the Royal family of Italy, the Savoy’s. In 1578 it was taken to Torino and has been there ever since.

When I arrived to the church I was skeptical for sure. But when you look into the eyes of the image imprinted in the cloth staring at you...well lets just say I became a little more open minded as I left the church...

(Images are of the church and the room where the shroud resides.)

No comments: