|"Thinks: I'm getting bored doing these selfies. What could I do next - maybe on a religious theme?" NOT!!!|
The Shroud of Turin is certainly not a painting. The mainly US-based STURP (Shroud of Turin Research Project) task force showed as much in 1981, searching for but failing to find known artists' pigments, bar a few flecks of iron oxide (artists' red ochre?).
|STURP's conclusions (1981), opening sentence: Click to ENLARGE. STURP rejected out of hand any idea that the Shroud was a painted image. Has anyone told CharlesF?|
While the origin of those latter particles is still uncertain (contamination?) one thing was certain: the sepia image did not comprise inorganic material, as per red ochre and/or other medieval paint pigments. Its spectral and chemical properties showed it was due to some kind of molecular change in the linen fibres per se - and a highly superficial one at that - affecting the topmost 200nm of the weave, the thickness of gold leaf.
The most probable interpretation is of a chemical modification similar to that produced by scorching with a hot object. That causes linen carbohydrates to undergo a range of subtle though permanent changes - chemical dehydration (i.e. loss of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in a 2:1 ratio), oxidation, cross-linking, formation of conjugated double bonds. The latter, by absorbing visible blue light, results in a yellow discoloration. We're told the Shroud image is not a scorch, only scorch-like. Well, that may or may not be true, but today this posting is not about mechanism. It's about terminology.
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.
That straight away puts clear blue water between those who have taken on board three crucial aspects of the TS image and those who ignore all of those, claiming it was simply painted.
1. The life-size double image on an up-and-over sheet of linen, showing frontal and dorsal surfaces but importantly not sides or top of head, which implies IMPRINTING not painting.
|Durante 2002/Shroud Scope image, frontal (left), dorsal (right) with some added contrast. Faded painting? Or some kind of whole body imprint on up-and-over linen, real or simulated? Note the negative (tone-reversed) nature of the image.|
2. An imprinting mechanism explains the negative image, in which the most prominent features that in a photograph would look light through reflecting light appear dark because they are the ones that make closest contact with linen. (Whether actual contact or mere proximity alone is needed will be considered shortly|).
3. The 3D-properties of the TS negative image which contrary to early reports is not unique to the TS, but in fact are easily modelled with contact-only imprints, e.g. model scorches from a heated template as this blogger and others has demonstrated, e.g. with a brass crucifix.
|The as-is Shroud image above, before tone-reversal, after 3D enhancement. Results at least as good, and indeed generally better than this, can be obtained with imprints from model systems, e.g. contact scorches from heated brass templates.|
Those three characteristics as I say are not only consistent with, but entirely predictable from an imprinting process. They are neither consistent with nor predictable from free-hand painting. Let's say no more about painting, and try now to refine the terminology. "Imprint" is a start. Can one improve on that?
Let's go back to STURP, and look at what its documenting photographer (or the best-known of them) had to say in 2000:
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".
Here's a sample:
If there's some grimacing then, it's from me, not them. I say an imprint implies a contact mechanism. A radiation mechanism that can operate across an air gap is better described surely as one involving projection and light capture, the latter requiring all kinds of ancillary hardware (lenses, collimating systems, light-sensitive emulsions etc - a far cry from simple contact-imprinting). But if they are happy for radiation- mediated imaging to be described as imprinting, then that's fine by me, at least for the time being, one where I regard the immediate road block/obstruction as Charles Freeman with his simplistic paint-based scenario - one that attempts to turn the clock back on decades of Shroud research. One needs to get to grips with "negative image" and "3D properties", Charles, and quick, and cease lecturing us on how we have ignored the effects of wear and tear. No we haven't. This blogger was using Shroud Scope well over two years ago to report indications of delamination of blood stains (blood being arguably a kind of paint pigment) and indeed finding evidence that had indeed happened, with implications for the blood first/image second dogma - no need to enlarge on that right now.
Takeaway message: don't make things too easy for Charles Freeman. Stop referring to a faint or faded Shroud image. Refer instead to a 'proximity imprint'. "Imprint" alone will do if one is averse to qualifying adjectives...
Afterthought: the earliest known attempt to represent the Shroud post-Lirey was (I 'm given to understand) the 1516 Lier copy, i.e. some century and a half after its first known public display.
Whilst that copy was clearly painted (there being no attempt on the part of artist to conceal that fact) there is no indication that what being shown was a considered a painting - quite the contrary in fact.
The Lier copy looks for all the world like the present day Shroud - a faint double body IMPRINT - the product of mechanical impression - not a painting. The body image per se (excluding blood and curiously-coloured burn holes) is monochrome, suggestive of a sweat imprint.
Unrelated (or scarcely so) to the above, I've just come across this fascinating article:
Rembrandt thickened paints with flour
Two noteworthy points:
1. While paint was built up in a series of layers (I was searching to find typical paint thickness) each layer is described as incredibly thin - typically a thousandth of a mm. However, that is enormous compared with the claimed 200-600nm (nanometre) thickness of the TS image layer. A thousandth of a millimetre is a micrometre, and a micrometre is 1000 nm, so each paint layer of which there could be several could be up to 5 times as thick as the TS image.
2. There's a reference to a physical (and presumably non-destructive) technique for probing the superficial layers on ancient works of art.
Here's the relevant passage (my bolding):
First the researchers took a cross-section from a miniscule section of the painting. Then they used a variety of methods to probe the layers, including a technique called Time of Fly -- Secondary Ion Mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS). This technique involves sending a focused, high-energy beam of ions at the layered sample, then observing the ions that bounce back.Might I suggest that you add that to your "Must Do" list, Turn custodians (preferably this century).
By analyzing the energy and chemical nature of the ejected ions, scientists can deduce detailed information about the types of elements and chemical bonds held within. For the second greyish layer of paint on the "Portrait of Nicolaes van Bambeeck," the scan showed, Rembrandt mixed oil and a small amount of lead with wheat flour.
Update, 20:00 Feb 21: I see below a review of this posting on Dan Porter's shroudstory site that "there is a problem with JImage (sic)".
Link to comment
It seems to be prompted by my stating as verifiable fact that simple contact scorches respond as well if not better than the Turin Shroud in ImageJ software.
Might it also have been provoked by his noting that the 1532 burn marks respond to 3D enhancement in ImageJ (see my result above)?
It's time to draw a line under the "encoded" 3D-mystique that attaches to the Turin Shroud. The reason that the TS image, model scorch imprints and burn marks all respond to ImageJ is NOT because there is something "wrong" with ImageJ. It's because ImageJ does what ImageJ does - namely converts image density into pseudo-3D relief in proportion to image density. I say "pseudo" because it's a simple job to show that ImageJ can be used to create pseudo-3D in 2D graphics that have never had any prior 3D history. I reported that on this site last summer, posting this result:
And here's a variant, entirely monochrome, and using a 'spray gun' (MS Paint) to create a gradient of image density:
|Top: homemade 2D figure entered into ImageJ. Bottom: result after 3D rendering with two levels of smoothing - low (left) and high (right)|
Even earlier I showed how a Mickey Mouse cartoon also responds, after a fashion, to ImageJ.
If anyone thinks or suspects that they have a 2D image that has some mysteriously-encoded 3D information that can only be detected in special software - nothing so easily-downloadable as ImageJ - that only they know about, then the onus is on them to do what I have done above, namely to enter home-made 2D graphics with no 3D history into their gee-whizz software and show they do NOT respond. It's called being scientific (as distinct from mystique-mongering) which, though I hesitate to say it, adequately sums up 90% or more of post-STURP so-called 'Shroud-research' (including I might add that of some erstwhile demob-happy STURP team members).
Update Sunday Feb 22
I've previously compared the response of Shroud Scope images with my model scorch imprints, and reported the results. From memory the two were comparable, as indicated above. Tracking down those images has proved harder than I thought. The solution was obvious - simply do it again. I've used a cropped scorch imprint onto linen from my small brass crucifix, about 15 cm high (a necessary caveat if minded to make quality comparisons).
|TS frontal image, Shroud Scope (left) contrast-enhanced versus scorch imprint from brass crucifix (right). Appearance after 3D enhancement in ImageJ, with displayed settings.|
Result confirmed. The two responses are much the same. Note too that lateral distortion, while apparent in the model scorch image, was not sufficient as often claimed to make for a grotesque result.
Further update, still Sunday.
As I feared, the suggestion that "imprint" be adopted as a description for the TS image has not been universally well-received. The term is thought to be loaded in favour of a contact-only mechanism, despite prefacing it with "proximity" and despite being used previously by those who mechanisms do not require actual physical contact.
The reason for making common cause with champions of pro-authenticity was not to make them drink from a poisoned chalice, as stated earlier, but to find some means of nudging Charles Freeman and his paint pigments out of mainstream Shroud research, and hopefully out of its totally undeserved media attention.
Well, I'm flexible, and certainly not trying to sneak a semantic Trojan horse into beleaguered Fort Pro-Authenticity.
Here's another suggestion. Refer to the Shroud as possessing a 'captured image'. Leave it open as to the mechanism of capture - contact, radiation, chemical, thermochemical, reactive vapours. But while artists may be said to capture 'likenesses' of their subjects, they can hardly be said to capture images. They are not 'cameras' in any shape or form. They do not 'record'. At best they visually transcribe. They exert active mental control at every step (or lack thereof if incompetent, careless or hurried), unlike a recording process that is usually passive but arguably more reproducible, at least in principle.
More thoughts: the crucial difference between painting an image, vis-a-vis imprinting (oops, sorry) and image capture is that painted images are assembled in stages. Captured images appear in their entirety - not in stages. They may be weak images initially, taking time to intensify to a satisfactory level of visibility, but they are COMPLETE images from the word go. Maybe there's a better terminology lurking somewhere in the dictionary or thesaurus that incorporates the idea of total image capture, reminiscent of photography, but NOT photography.
Still more thoughts (12:00)
How about SYNCHRONOUS WHOLE-BODY IMAGE CAPTURE?
How could it be distinguished from painting (non-synchronous)?
Presence/absence of image homogeneity is a key criterion. Check for: homogeneity of colour, homogeneity of image thickness, homogeneity of contrast range (min-max intensity) etc etc.
Might there be further diagnostic tests that discriminate between a painted image and that acquired by synchronous image capture (regardless of mechanism)?
Consider IMAGE ATTRITION. Body image has to be treated separately from blood. Why? Because blood (interestingly) is in a sense paint -like, so one has an internal control, so to speak, when one attempts to compare the degradation patterns of body image v blood.
|Shroud Scope image: the wishbone-shaped blood stain in the hair. Note the irregularity in the weave, running horizontally (yellow box).|
|Close-up of above. Note the hang-up of blood in the weave irregularity, implying attrition of blood elsewhere.|
The above images and interpretation are from a posting on my specialist Shroud site from June 2012. Contrary to what Charles Freeman says, some of us have been considering the effects of image attrition for quite some time. I was using evidence of bloodstain attrition to probe the Adler/Heller narrative-friendly claim that blood stains preceded body image - and finding it highly questionable (note the way that image density above appears just as strong where blood stains have apparently flaked off).
Attrition of body image, by a different mechanism from blood, i.e. fracture of brittle and weakened linen fibres, had not escaped this blogger's attention well before Charles Freeman scolded us all for thinking the TS always looked the way it does today.
Here's another posting of mine , this time from March 11, 2014:
Following some patient tuition from Dan Porter, Charles Freeman finally appears to understand what is meant by a negative image (up till now, he seemed to think it simply meant left-right reversed, as in a mirror image). But how can his degraded paint narrative explain the negative image? Here it is - an embellishment of said narrative (my italics):