Colin Berry Wants Feedback

It’s getting on for 9 months since I first floated the idea that the TS
was fabricated as a simulated sweat imprint, a whole-body front-and-back
version of the then celebrated Veil of Veronica.

imageHe writes by way of a new comment:

The TS is NOT to be seen as a painting, given its negative character. It’s to be seen as an IMPRINT, almost certainly a CONTACT IMPRINT. In a non-authenticity model that does not necessarily mean it was produced as a contact imprint, e.g. off some kind of applied bas-relief template (though it may well have been, given its 3D properties. It’s just conceivable that it was painted freehand in a manner as to make the image SEEM like an imprint. But there again, the artisans would not have considered themselves restricted to classical artists’ pigments, if as seems probable the aim was to produce an image that would not be instantly regarded (and just as quickly dismissed) as merely a flight-of-fancy painting on linen.

So whichever way you look at it, there’s no justification whatsoever for making any assumption, either a priori or from Charles’s post hoc review of what he terms “interlocking” evidence, that the image was painted.

In any case, it’s grossly unscientific to assume (without independent evidence) the present image is what’s left when the paint has ENTIRELY flaked off. Why the survival of 3D properties if that had been the case? Why the STURP evidence based on diimide-bleaching, reflectance spectroscopy etc that the body image comprises dehydrated linen carbohydrates? Why should a coating of gesso and paint have produced chemical changes that in the laboratory require elevated temperature or dehydrating acids such as H2SO4. Why all the focus on blood, which may well have been partly or totally paint when the real challenge, not to be ducked, is the subtle BODY IMAGE aka IMPRINT that caused consternation when first displayed at Lirey?

This entire paint thing is an attempt to bury well over a century of image analysis, starting with Secondo Pia’s amazing photographic ‘negatives’ that restored the TS ‘positive’. Classical paintings do not do that, not even faded or flaked-off ones, correction least of all leaving scarcely-visible (when viewed up close) low-contrast remains.

It’s getting on for 9 months since I first floated the idea that the TS was fabricated as a simulated sweat imprint, a whole-body front-and-back version of the then celebrated Veil of Veronica. I don’t recall hearing any significant objections to that proposal, not from Charles Freeman nor anyone else for that matter. I hesitate to say this, but what’s the point of posting one’s ideas to a specialist web forum if one gets absolutely no detailed feedback, either positive or negative?

The Search for the Face of God

clip_image001James Day, a campus minister at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, in Catholic Exchange finds acheiropoieta – images of mysterious origins encouraging in our era.

In the third millennium, the face of God has become an archaic relic, entire generations having turned its back on it. Christ is now an acceptable cartoon while Catholic-raised artists and writers ignore encouragement to follow the footsteps of Michelangelo, Dante or Mozart. The Incarnation and Resurrection have gone from the world’s greatest events to childish after thoughts. Facebook five hundred years ago might have been a collection of Veronica images from Edessa to Oviedo.

And yet, in spite (or precisely because of today’s visual ego) the Veronica, the Shroud of Turin and the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe, three images known as acheiropoieta—“not made by human hands”—captivate the imagination of all people of goodwill. That images of mysterious origins continue to catch our dulled eyes is both a telling sign of God the Artist’s eternal masterwork and a divine invitation to conversion.

The search for the face is newly enabled:

The search for the face of God dominated the Old Testament, most especially in the Psalms. “Your face, Lord, do I seek!” intones Psalm 27. Modern technology has immensely aided the psalmist’s longing by providing an outlet for close scrutiny of the acheiropoieta images, whether it be Juan Diego’s tilma in Mexico City or the ancient Shroud in Turin. It was a photographic negative that uncovered the figure of a man in the Shroud in 1898, just as digital photography today has transmitted the Holy Face in Manoppello to the rest of the world.

A Significant Criticism of STURP

imageColin Berry wrote it in all-caps and red letters. For good measure, he added four exclamation marks:


Colin, in his latest posting this morning, STURP approached the Shroud with a major blind spot for negative imprinted images. Time to send in a new STURP team, properly constituted, wrote:

Even if one had grounds for thinking the TS was a painting, despite the lack of brush marks, the generally indistinct fuzzy image with no clear edge, the absence of pigment (not even hang-up in the interstices of the weave as per “blood”) there would be a major question staring one in the face.

Why does the image show a reversal of normal light/dark tones such that one needs a Secondo Pia type conversion to negative to see it’s a “real person”, indeed the popular image of Jesus.? How can one ignore so obvious a feature of the TS – its negative character, and fail to ask why, if testing for fraud  (or well-intentioned simulation) it was done that way? If one’s going to assemble a largely self-appointed team of detectives, then one should do what detectives do, and try to think like a criminal might, and start by establishing a motive. What possible motive might a medieval forger have for depicting Christ, especially when newly-deceased, in the negative (an unattractive image some might think when placed alongside the 19th/20th century negative)?

[ . . . ]

So what did those STURP members, with few if any image analysts among them, and NO art historians fail to take on board? Answer: the obsession in that era with allegedly genuine images of Christ obtained as IMPRINTS, mainly in sweat, purportedly, with or without a contribution from blood. Straightaway one needs to flag up the obvious – that a contact imprint from a 3D subject, or part thereof , like a face is ALWAYS a negative image. . . .

imageAnd there is this intriguing thought:

Any approach to the Shroud’s NEGATIVE image that takes account of its historical setting, around the time first public display, and indeed first definitive mention in written records, in 1357, must take account of the then celebrated so-called ‘Veil of Veronica’. Before asking what that was, or rather became with much image-embellishment at the hands of artists, let’s first turn to wiki to see the evidence for the Veil’s celebrity at the era in question: [ed. that would be Wikipedia, the entry for Veil of Veronica]

However, firm recording of the Veronica only begins in 1199 when two pilgrims named Gerald de Barri (Giraldus Cambrensis) and Gervase of Tilbury made two accounts at different times of a visit to Rome which made direct reference to the existence of the Veronica. Shortly after that, in 1207, the cloth became more prominent when it was publicly paraded and displayed by Pope Innocent III, who also granted indulgences to anyone praying before it. This parade, between St Peter’s and The Santo Spirito Hospital, became an annual event and on one such occasion in 1300 Pope Boniface VIII, who had it translated to St. Peter’s in 1297, was inspired to proclaim the first Jubilee in 1300. During this Jubilee the Veronica was publicly displayed and became one of the "Mirabilia Urbis" ("wonders of the City") for the pilgrims who visited Rome. For the next two hundred years the Veronica, retained at Old St Peter’s, was regarded as the most precious of all Christian relics; there Pedro Tafur, a Spanish visitor in 1436, noted:

[ . . . ]

Good point, Colin. That is what these blogs are about. Asking questions and raising concerns that are not otherwise being asked in less argumentative sites.

BTW: Colin is angry at me. He thinks I was a bit unfair. He may be right:

I’ve just been given a mild reprimand (yet again) for changing the subject on my blog through use of addendums.

To reiterate: this is my blog, my space, and it’s not for other bloggers to act as style police.

The blogger in question has in fact ignored the main content of this posting, the one in the title (LOTTO v LUWU) and chosen to nitpick on a detail of the brass-rubbing addendum. My crime: to make mention of processing the image by tone inversion then 3D-engancement in Image J. I’ve failed I’m told to demonstrate that the 3D step produced 3D enhancement.

Correct. I never said it did. I simply showed the result after each of the two steps, and invited my readers to form their own judgement. In fact there is a small difference in the ‘post 3D’ image – i.e. shadiing effects that make the image less like a cartoon, clothing especially, faces too if one looks closely, more like a portrait, BUT I DID NOT SAY THAT. I simply left it at saying that the processed images were more ‘life-like’ and used that term immediately after the tone-inversion alone.

That site is becoming increasingly vexatious, especially for its constant attempts to trip me up on matters of pettifogging detail, and its systematic attempts to draw attention away from the main content and conclusions.

I shall be giving that dreary lacklustre site a miss from a while, having several ideas in the pipeline that I want to post here. I shan’t bother to see how they have been subsequently mushed on that site, as indeed they will.