Collimated Sweat Acting at a Distance

That should warm the cockles of Colin Berry’s heart

imageFrom a press release this morning:

JERUSALEM.- The Israel Museum, Jerusalem, has announced the awarding of its 2014 Shpilman International Prize for Excellence in Photography to American artist and photographer Lisa Oppenheim. Selected from among 160 applicants from 28 countries around the world, Oppenheim was awarded the prize for her outstanding body of existing work and prospective projects.

And one of the prospective projects is:

. . . said Noam Gal, Noel and Harriette Levine Curator of the Museum’s Department of Photography. “Her choices of subjects – including the future project she presented in her application, Imprint (Shroud of Turin) – give promise to the perpetuation of this fascinating artistic path.”

Imprint?  Shroud of Turin?  That should warm the cockles of Colin Berry’s heart. Colin is old fashioned enough and British enough to understand that expression.

Let me explain (or you can read Colin’s whole bloody post on his blog). Colin shows us the picture (below) and tells us: “The mechanism of imprinting of the body image? Can there be any doubt that the artist wanted us to know that the image was a SWEAT IMPRINT.”

Yes! There can be some doubt; for I must ask: Are Jesus followers lifting the cloth up and away from the body or putting it down over the body? If they are just getting ready to lower the cloth over Jesus, was the “imprint” caused by collimated sweat acting at a distance?

Colin writes:

Is this the definitive answer to the Shroud of Turin visible in old paintings? Answer: YES – almost certainly, as the above [=below now] paintings demonstrate, but I don’t suppose Dan Porter will be overjoyed at the use I’ve made of his website graphics.

But I am overjoyed; for I have always put pursuit of the truth about the shroud ahead of trying to convince anyone it is real. In accord with that I am NOT going to put a lot of stock into Colin’s interpretation of a 17th century artist’s artistic interpretation of events and call it definitive evidence of anything.  

Look closely. You can almost correlate the darker areas of the smudge-ish image on the cloth being held above Jesus’ body to the followers surrounding the cloth. Are those perhaps shadows?  Light seems to come from different places in this painting. 


The Conspiracy of the Faux-Sweat Imprint

Colin Berry: I have set out a possible scenario that led to the TS being
fabricated as a rival attraction to the Veil of Veronica, indeed one that built
on the established credentials of the Veronica . . . as perceived by those at the time,
and which later . . . came to supplant the Veronica as the Church’s new “central icon”
(to borrow Neil McGregor’s words re the 14th century Veronica).

Colin’s old blog site, Shroud of Turin Without All The Hype (or something like that) has sprung back to life after several months, reincarnated as The Shroud of Turin: medieval scorch? The blog that separates the science from the pseudo-science…. The first posting since March is The Shroud of Turin: probably not miraculous, just a simulated sweat imprint – a triumph of medieval joined-up thinking.

(the 3D, negative scorch image, right, resides
on Colin’s blog, click on the image to see
a larger version)

There must have been at least some who, viewing, or even hearing of the Veil, [ca. 1350] must have asked themselves: how can plain old perspiration (“sweat” in common parlance) imprint an image on cloth? What would it look like initially? What would it look like a day later, a week later, a century or millennium later? And among those people, might there be just one individual who then asked themselves an audacious question: could or might the process be simulated, or to put it baldly, faked? Could one pass off an entirely and audaciously  man-made image as that of a divine sweat image? And if that were the case, what would be the most profitable way of doing that? Content oneself with producing a face imprint that was superior to that on the Veil, and claim that one had the “real” version, and that the one in Rome was the fake? Or avoid any such controversy and unpleasantness. Instead, marshall one’s technology to make an even more audacious claim, namely that one had not only an image that captured the face of Jesus, but that of his entire body! How could that be done? Was there a scenario from the New Testament gospels that might be adduced to back one’s claim?

Certainly there was, and it’s one that occurred just a day or two AFTER the crucifixion. It was the initial placement by Joseph of Arimathea of Jesus on  a costly sheet of linen, conveniently with no reference at this stage to the body being cleaned of blood and other bodily secretions, notably sweat.

Already a plan for developing that germ of an idea was taking shape. What were the criteria that could be adopted first to produce a whole body imprint of the crucified Jesus that would pass muster, yet importantly pose no threat to the status of the Veil?

Just a sampling here to give you an idea of what Colin is talking about and to encourage you to read . . . just a simulated sweat imprint . . . :

1. The image must NOT be mistaken for anything but a burial shroud. A single image of the frontal side might be mistaken for some kind of painted portrait. Solution: imprint BOTH sides of the body, align them head to head making it seems as though  . . .

[ . . . ]

5. Choose a weave that is receptive to one’s imprinting process. A twill weave  (e.g. herringbone 3/1 weave) has more flat areas than a simple 1/1 criss-cross one.

[ . . . ]

13. Feet are a problem. Does one terminate the dorsal imprint at the heel, as would be expected, thereby leaving an image lacking feet? Or does one image-imprint off a template as if the linen had been pulled up around the heels and pulled tight against the soles to capture those surfaces as well (creating an option for adding blood imprints too on soles of feet issuing from crucifixion nail holes)? Go for that latter option, since human intervention with enveloping a  shroud around the feet is not inconsistent with the the 1st century rock tomb scenario and indeed serves to enhance it.

14. The chin and neck are also problematical. Cloth laid loosely over the frontal surface would tend to bridge from chin to chest, creating a detached floating head with no neck. But cloth that imaged the neck, as if it had followed all the contours would risk imaging the underside of the chin too, making the neck look too long. Some compromise is needed, to get some neck and not too much underside of chin. Maybe simulate a crease at the chin to suggest there had been pressure applied to the linen, manual, or maybe from having a ‘neck tie’ of some kind that would not itself be imaged.

15. Loin cloth? . . .  Finer sensibilities must take a back seat. . . .

16. Frontal nudity? Use crossed hands to cover the genital area. Take liberties with human anatomy if necessary (slightly overlong arms and fingers).

Is it fair to call this a conspiracy theory?  No!  That is why I didn’t use the word theory in the title. It sounds like a conspiracy theory but it is clear that Colin intends to support his conjecture, indeed subsume the conjecture under science.