Friday, September 01, 2006

Pope Benedict goes to visit the "True Icon"

On September 1, the Pope went to Manoppello in Italy to view what is considered the veil that Veronica (Latin: Vera "true" Greek: Icon "icon") supposedly wiped Jesus' face with as He went to the cross, leaving behind the image of His face on her cloth. It has long been considered a relic, though the Pope's visit doesn't necessarily endorse that position.

It now resides in the town's monastery, where it is stretched between two panes of glass in a golden frame. The image clearly shows the face of a Christ-like figure. When held up against daylight, however, the image on the veil disappears. In recent months, Veronica's Veil has been the subject of an influx of tourists from Rome, keen to see what they view as a 'holy relic'. The Vatican has stressed, however, that the Pope's visit does not mean he is officially endorsing the veil. In 1999, scientists from Bari University in southern Italy reported that the image had not been painted or embossed on the veil in any way that could be explained.

Now, there is a Sudarium (head cloth) that resides in a church in Oviedo, Spain, which doesn't have any image on it whatsoever, but it has blood stains that very well could have been the cloth wrapped around Jesus' head after He died. This piece of cloth is covered very thoroughly in a book by Janice Bennett, and seems to be a very likely candidate to be authentic.

One must also consider the Shroud of Turin, which has also been debated over the years about its authenticity and interesting image that is clearer in the negative. So far, aside from carbon dating that might be in error, no one has been able to prove it as being unauthentic. Additionally, people have been unable to replicate how the image was made on the cloth, with such anatomically precise executional accuracies (i.e., nails through the wrist) that were virtually unknown in the medieval ages, had it been forged during that time period from when the carbon dating claims the cloth comes. [see this book for more in-depth discussion]

So this brings me back to this cloth that the Pope saw this week. If you look at the "image" on it, especially compared to the mysterious Shroud image, it looks nothing like it. It definitely isn't a direct imprint, and as an artist and art therapist, it looks very man-made and somewhat disproportionate, much like art before and during the early Renaissance art period. Now I can't explain how the image disappears in the light, or how it was applied, but in comparison to these other cloth relics, this veil appears to be a hoax, albeit one with a reverent intent.

I wonder what the Pope thought?


Blogger Spoomonger said...

It seems there are more painting of the cloth than pictures of it out there - and they all look different. Will the real Veronica's Veil please stand up?!?

9:08 PM  

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