Posts Tagged ‘Charles Freeman’

A Folding Method Charles Freeman Might Accept

May 8, 2015 17 comments

Click on the image to see how it is done in steps 1 through 5

clip_image001[4]Stephen Jones, back in September of 2012, wrote:

A commenter on Dan Porter’s Shroud of Turin blog pointed out what I had previously realised, but had forgotten, that Dan’s "Tetradiplon" graphic illustrating how the Shroud of Turin, when "four-doubled" (Greek tetradiplon), with Jesus’ face uppermost, results in Jesus’ face only within a rectangle, in landscape aspect (exactly as in the oldest copies of the Image of Edessa), has a flaw in that it only shows three doublings of the Shroud (see above).

Even Ian Wilson’s illustrations of this in his books (e.g. "The Evidence of the Shroud," 1986, p.113; "Holy Faces, Secret Places," 1991, p.142; "The Blood and the Shroud," 1998, p.153; "The Turin Shroud," 2000, p.111; and "The Shroud," 2010, p.141), show the Shroud doubled only three times.

But some months ago I cut out a photo of the Shroud and proved to myself that the Shroud can be doubled four times in such a way that it results in Jesus’ face in a rectangular segment of the cloth, in landscape aspect,exactly as it is in early copies of the Image of Edessa. Here I will show how it can be done, in what is a reasonable way to fold a long cloth, minimising strain at its fold edges.

Stephen goes on to say:

This is consistent with major foldlines at one-eighth intervals, found on the Shroud by Dr John Jackson from raking light photographs of the Shroud taken in 1978 by the Shroud of Turin Research Project (STURP).


Charles Freeman on Tetradiplon and the Video on

May 7, 2015 7 comments

imageHe wrote in a comment a few hours ago:

… Someone please tell Ian Wilson so that he can revise his text for any new edition of the Shroud. This should go along with his correction of the illustration of tetradiplon as you cannot translate it as ’doubled in four’ alongside an illustration showing it doubled to make eight ( alas a mistake repeated in the video that Barrie has just posted).

Better leave out the tetradiplon issue altogether as it only refers to the cloth BEFORE Christ wiped his face with it and there is no indication in the text that it was refolded as such afterwards. Having ploughed my way through 150 examples of Greek words where tetra was added, the most likely translation is doubled four times- which is exactly the way they folded the Parthenon cloth as seen in the Parthenon frieze in The British Museum. But that would cut through the face of the Man on the Shroud and so would destroy Wilson’s argument. Better just to edit all this out to save Wilson further loss of credibility among the Byzantine experts.

Click on the image or follow this link: to see the video. It’s pretty short.

Having Nightmares

April 28, 2015 28 comments

clip_image001In an email, Russ Breault writes:

I had a dream last night.  For some reason I was dreaming of Charles Freeman and his painting theory.  I remembered conversations with Isabel Piczek at her studio.  She always develops her paintings, which are large scale murals, with a "cartoon" as she calls it.  I would call it a sketch that becomes the guide for where and how she would apply the paint.  I assume that almost all artists start with an outline, cartoon or sketch.  So in the case of Freeman’s theory, if all the paint has now flaked off, where is the outline?  Where is the underlying sketch? 

First of all, dreaming of Charles Freeman and his painting theory is not merely a dream, it’s a nightmare.

Anyway, when I first read about the shroud, I often read about how the image on the shroud had no outline. Isabel was often quoted and I found myself using the lack of an outline as an argument.  Then one day, I was on Fifth Avenue along the edge of Central Park in Manhattan. There is along this famous avenue, where the sidewalk is as wide as the road, an area where local artists sell their works hanging on a fence or spread out on the pavement. Occasionally, you will find an artist painting portraits of tourists. I watched one such artist at work.  He began with a smattering of seemingly random brush strokes with random colors from his palette. It was, for most of the time that he was painting, a work of pure chaos.  Then the portrait emerged, slowly at first. The was the moment of I think I see the face. Then, it was, of course that is a face. Finally, after maybe ten minutes, it was as hyper realistic as Albrecht Dürer’s self portrait, ca. 1500 AD (above). Watching this artist work was like watching the Harlem Globetrotters. No one shoots baskets like that. No one paints like that, without even a hint of an outline.

But they do. Ever watch Bob Ross on TV?  I’m thinking these days that some artists use outlines and some do not. That the shroud does not appear to have a surviving outline doesn’t impress me all that much any more. Link is

Categories: Art Tags: ,

Charles Freeman and the Huffington Post Caption Writer

April 21, 2015 3 comments

Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been
produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.

imageCarol Kuruvilla writes HuffPo’s story about the exposition:

In a 2011 book, British scholar Charles Freeman suggested that the shroud was created for medieval Easter rituals. The earliest mention of the shroud he could find was in 1355, when the cloth was displayed at a chapel in Lirey, France.

“On Easter morning the gospel accounts of the resurrection would be re-enacted with ‘disciples’ acting out a presentation in which they would enter a makeshift tomb and bring out the grave clothes to show that Christ had indeed risen,” Freeman told The Guardian.

Italy’s former royal family, the House of Savoy, acquired the shroud in 1453. Freeman says the family “converted” the cloth “into a high-prestige relic” in order to bolster the kingdom’s reputation.

A caption writer for an accompanying gallery of pictures had a different story to tell:

This image cannot be a medieval fake: the image does not match the style, technique, or concepts of medieval imagery, and it cannot be a painting or a rubbing. Skeptics have suggested various weird and wonderful ways in which it might have been produced; they all contradict each other, and none is remotely plausible.

And there is this caption for a photograph of the frontal full body image:

The Shroud was first photographed in 1898, revealing that it is an astonishingly realistic negative image. This unequivocally proves that the Shroud cannot be a medieval man-made forgery, for no one knew how to produce such an image in those days – or would have wanted to. And no, Leonardo couldn’t have either – apart from anything else, he was born a century after the Shroud is first documented in France.

And this caption for a picture of the Hungarian Pray Codex

Folio 28r of the Pray Codex, a Hungarian manuscript produced between 1192 and 1195, depicting two scenes from the Passion. Most people believe the Shroud is a fake due to the 1988 carbon-dating test, but the botched sampling of the cloth and the last-minute abandonment of agreed-upon procedures mean that the carbon-dating test had severe flaws. Carbon-dating is by no means 100% reliable, and the carbon-dating of ancient cloths appears to be particularly error-prone. Contamination or a medieval repair can account for the problematic Shroud test. This miniature painting, dating from the 1190s, depicts the Shroud, complete with a distinctive pattern of burn-marks, at least a century before the date suggested by the carbon-dating.

Colin Berry: Stop Calling the Faint Image a Faint Image

February 21, 2015 21 comments

And, as I see it . . . the word distance and the word body are both at issue.
Can we go on saying that no one has figured out how the image was formed
and at the same time objectively refer to cloth-to-body distance?

clip_image001I applaud Colin Berry’s attempt at helping to define the image:

Getting the right words to describe the Shroud image into the media and public domain has acquired a new urgency of late, given the recent claims that attempt to undo decades of research.  I refer to historian Charles Freeman’s claim that the TS is merely an age-degraded painting.  I’ve said quite a lot on that score already elsewhere, as indeed have others, and have little more to add, except to say that Mr. Freeman needs to get up to speed with Shroud science, and disabuse himself of the idea that it’s all about art history. The TS is arguably NOT about art. It’s an artefact, intended for purposes other than mere artistic expression. Works of art do not generally result in the issue of Pilgrims’ Badges (Lirey, France, circa 1357).

However, thanks to the robotic and mindless Google algorithm, Charles’s misguided notions will no doubt survive for a while, at least on the internet.  It’s no longer sufficient in this blogger’s view to continue describing the TS as a "faint image". That is too non-specific and makes it too easy for CF to peddle his antediluvian views (if STURP can be thought of as supplying a flood of new information).  "Faint image" or even faint NEGATIVE image simply does not do the business (CF having closed his eyes completely to the  implications of the tone-reversal implied by the descriptor "negative"). No, we need new updated terminology that makes it clear that the TS is not just any old "faint image", but one with very special, indeed unique properties that sets it apart from other pictorial representations of the human form. While that terminology cannot and must not attempt to impose a new orthodoxy regarding mechanism, actual or conjectural, it is entitled in my view to guide thinking in the right direction, while leaving key details unspecified.

So what is that terminology to be?

One has to be neither  pro- nor anti-authenticity to regard the TS image as an IMPRINT.

Definition of "imprint" (noun): Free Dictionary:



1. a mark or indentation impressed on something.

2. any impression or impressed effect.

And it is life-sized front and back, negative and contains seemingly 3D properties, Colin goes on to remind us.

Colin goes on to examine the definition issue from the point of view of a quote from a paper by Barrie Schwortz, Is the Shroud of Turin a Medieval Photograph?: A critical examination of the theory. That paragraph reads:

The STURP team concluded that there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. The researchers calculated that the image on the Shroud was formed at a cloth-to-body distance of up to approximately 4 centimeters, but beyond that, imaging did not occur. The closer the cloth was to the body, the darker the resulting image in that area, with the darkest parts of the image being formed where there was direct contact between the two. The image became proportionately lighter as the distance increased until it reached the maximum imaging distance. . . .

To which Colin responds:

Left to me I would have described the TS image as probably, indeed almost certainly a CONTACT imprint, such as can be modelled with hot templates. But the view exists, articulated above, and emanating in main from STURP physicist John Jackson PhD, that the TS image is not contact-only, but from modelling studies (at any rate)  appears to allow imaging across modest air gaps that do not exceed approx 4cm.  Personally, I think that latitude in allowing an air gap is a defect of the presumed imaging model, one that assumes a linen cloth spread loosely over a real corpse, and making only partial contact under gravity.  That’s a pro-authenticity scenario.

Forget that! The issue isn’t pro-authenticity. The issue is taking a leap too far making an observation into a theory. Consider what adding a short phrase does.

. . . there was a correlation between the density (or darkness) of the image on the Shroud and the [what might have been] distance the cloth was from the body at the time the image was formed. . . .

Colin’s take is just as correct:

Let’s not prejudge who is right, who is wrong.  Let’s assume that all that’s required is close proximity between a body and/or inanimate template that tolerates air gaps up to 4cm.

So the word distance and the word body are both at issue.  Can we go on saying that no one has figured out how the image was formed and at the same time objectively refer to cloth-to-body distance?

Colin’s caveat is fair:

Caveat: I’ve tried to be inclusive here, allowing for the possibility that  the image to have been produced by a burst of radiation (unspecified, see critique by the estimable Bernard Power ), and able to operate across air gaps. Without attempting to read  the minds of ‘resurrection radiationists’, whether it’s electromagnetic radiation or even wackier subatomic particles – notably neutrons-  that are proposed, might they consider the term "imprint", even modified with "proximity" as a potential poisoned chalice? Well, I’ve given a little thought to that, and followed up with some googling. What do I find?  Those ‘radiationist’ ideas have already filtered through to the mainstream media under the heading "imprints".

Of course, I’ve ignored Colin’s main point. We should stop calling the faint image on the shroud a faint image.  We make it to easy for the likes of Charles Freeman.

We should call it a proximity imprint, he tells us. 

No! Four syllables followed by two is a leap to far.  Remember, we are talking about the problems of a “robotic and mindless Google algorithm.”  

BTW:  I Googled “Faint Image.”  Not one picture of the shroud!  Most images were of people who had fainted.

Do read Colin’s entire posting.

There is another reason Charles Freeman is wrong

January 15, 2015 57 comments

imageA reader of this blog, Alan C., writes:

There is another reason Charles Freeman is wrong. The image on the Shroud of Turin is a negative. While I know you can’t prove a negative (that is a pun), I contend that no one has ever seen a painted negative other than maybe copies of the Shroud or of a photographic negative. In fact, it would be almost impossible if not completely impossible for anyone to paint a negative image. Just imagine someone could however. Why would he and how would he know it was correct?

If you are speaking of a grayscale negative, one that contains many shades of gray and possibly black and white, then I agree with you, Alan.

Last November, I wrote the following as a blog posting. I was convinced then that Charles did not understand the significance of fact that the image on the shroud is a negative image. Colin Berry had just then written, “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s), which Charles never did.  I contend that if he can’t do so his entire argument goes down the drain.

Here is the previous posting:

Dear Charles Freeman, re the Famous Arnolfini Portrait by Van Eyck

November 9, 2014

The picture of the Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck is in Wikipedia’s image library.
It is in the public domain. The smaller picture shows details that are visible in a small
convex mirror on the wall.

Hi Charles,

Colin Berry had repeatedly pointed out that the image on the shroud is a negative image. He was suggesting that it implied a contact imprint.

Well, maybe. Or maybe a a chemical reaction from a diffusion of gases like Ray Rogers proposed or a photograph like Nicholas Allen theorized or maybe, if your worldview allows it, some radiation that was a byproduct of a miraculous event. But we don’t need to go into all that. The point was and is, as Colin pointed out to you,  the image on the shroud is a negative and “. . . one has to explain the NEGATIVE image.”  (caps are Colin’s)

That is when you responded to Colin saying:

Colin – what is the problem in creating as negative image? The artisT of the Shroud as well as the Besancon shroud, was commissioned to imagine an image that a dead body might have left. The conventional iconography of tHe side wound is on the right side of the body, so he produced it on tHe left. Not difficult.

imageFor a more sophisticated negative image look at the mirror on the famous Arnolfini portrait by Van Eyck in the National Galley, London ( 1434). There are other cases of mirror images but this is the best.

Do you not know the difference between a negative image and a mirror image?

In your article, you mention the negative image three times. In the very first paragraph you write:

. . . Here we have negative images of Christ’s body as if they had been transferred from the body to the cloth. . . .

Okay, that’s fine. About a quarter of the way down you write:

. . . Note, too, the blood dripping from the lance that, in the negative image of the Shroud, appears to be reproduced outside the body image on its left side. . . .

Left side! Is this a clue? And then in an extraordinary paragraph at about three quarters of the way on, you tell us.

What can we say about the painting on the Shroud? The images are crude and limited in tone. They show none of the expertise of the great painters of the 14th century, who, even on linen, were capable of mixing a variety of pigments into rich colours. . . . Again, the hair of the body would have fallen back if the figure had been lying down but the blood is as if it is trickling down the hair of a standing figure. In short, it appears to be a painting made by an artist whose only concession to his subject is to imagine that this is a negative impression of the body (as shown by the wound on the chest being on the left of the image in contrast to the conventional right, as seen in the Holkham crucifixion scene) that had been transferred to the cloth. (red emphasis mine in all instances)

Do you not know about Secondo Pia’s famous photograph in 1898?  Do you not know what it means?

Charles, you write:

I am working within the mainstream, not Shroudies mainstream, but academic mainstream in setting out my hypotheses. No one who has read my articles thinks I am saying anything more than placing the Shroud within an acceptable medieval context.

imageAcceptable medieval context?  Show me one example of someone painting a negative image in the medieval or anytime in history. Find me an artist anywhere in the world who can do so. I’m sure it is possible. So, too, I imagine is patting your head, rubbing your stomach, jumping rope and singing the Halleluiah Chorus backwards all at the same time. Try it. No, I mean try painting a negative without a negative to copy. Try it.

There is something more going on in the picture on the right than a mere mirror image. It’s a negative of the picture on the left. And since the picture on the left is, itself, a negative and since two negatives make a positive, the negative on the right is a positive.

Charles, check out this negative thing with academic mainstream.  Without an example, you do not have any medieval context.

imageOne more question, in three parts, Charles:  If all the paint has flaked off, how do you know the images are limited in tone? How do you know it was not painted in rich colors? And, was this a color negative painting in which colors as well as gray scale values are reversed?

Without an example you do not have any medieval context.



An interesting paper on the subject is The Concept of Negativity Through the Ages vs The Negative Image on the Shroud by Isabel Piczek.

Social Encyclopedia-ing, the Shroud of Turin and Channel 5

November 24, 2014 86 comments

After all, we do find in Wikipedia “that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud.”

imageA reader from Spaniards Bay, Newfoundland, writes:

I discovered this morning that the “Shroud of Turin” entry in Wikipedia no longer contains attempts by Freeman and Berry to include their -hypotheses in this, their latest attempts at social encyclopedia-ing. In fact, their names cannot be found at all on the page. It was like awakening from a strange dream.

It was real. It wasn’t a dream. Moderator comments do state:

  • Deelted (sic) Colin Berrys removed as self promotion unsubstantiated in theory or peer reviewed in notable articles)
  • Removal of Charles Freeman theory article overloading on theories

Colin fired back on a discussion page that Wikipedia created for him:

I concluded my account with:

"Links to Berry’s ‘simulated sweat imprint’ hypothesis"

Note the term "hypothesis", meaning idea. So where’s the conflict of interest in expressing an idea? Where’s the self-promotion in expressing an idea? Why bandy around these silly terms in a way that totally misrepresents this researcher’s interest in the Shroud? Are you aware that I have published over 250 postings on my science buzz and specialist Shroud sites, many with original research findings you will not find elsewhere. As for deleting the earlier reference to my scorch findings that someone else, not I, chose to publicize, that is just small-mindedness.

My IDEA is any original one, as you can check for yourself by googling, that can be expressed in a few words,and which does not need "peer review" to which incidentally I am no stranger:

The faint yellow Shroud body image was almost certainly an attempt to simulate a sweat imprint on linen, as if from a recently crucified man. In reality it was probably a thermal imprint ("scorch mark") from a heated 3D or bas relief template.

Do you not consider that folk who consult wiki have a right to be informed of the latest thinking? Do you not understand the difference between hypotheses that invite further experimentation and tendentious claims?

Colinsberry (talk) 23:07, 23 November 2014 (UTC)

Colin Berry PhD

Does Colin have a point? He has done a lot of experimenting (not that I’m convinced by it). I don’t buy into the simulation of a sweat imprint idea but, then again, compare it to some other ideas that have been floated. After all we find this on the Wikipedia page:

Lynn Picknett has written a book proposing that Leonardo da Vinci had faked the Shroud. Picknett and Larissa Tracy appeared on a Channel 5 (UK) TV program that announced that the Shroud was the oldest known surviving photograph.

Colin, it seems that all you need to do is appear on Channel 5.

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