|Stuff happens, in academe especially - but do try to put a brave face on it.|
Late addition (17 June): the video says "4 months ago", which this blogger took to mean as having been recorded 4 months ago. But it would now appear to be much older, being a recording of a lecture given by Dr.Wesselow to the British Shroud of Turin Society on October 21st 2012. That kind of exonerates Dr.Wesselow of the second of two charges here (both somewhat tongue-in-cheek I hasten to add) that he borrowed an idea of mine (Feb 2014) re the Veil of Veronica to set up a "just a body imprint" hypothesis that could then be shot down (but only by equating "imprint" with "negative-like photograph", a spurious comparison). But he did use one of my contrast/brightness enhanced pictures of the scourge marks from Shroud Scope, which he was more than welcome to, though a credit might have been nice.
For several days now this blogger has been trying to access the Thomas de Wesselow video on the Turin Shroud, one that comes highly recommended on Dan Porter's shroudstory.site. Each time I tried, there was video but no sound. Finally I was able to trace it to a fault with my default Firefox browser, and hey presto, there was sound when I switched to a different one. (More about the increasingly problematical Firefox in a future posting).
Yes, I know I said I had essentially withdrawn from the fray where the TS is concerned. But that was because my now favoured "Stick 'n' Stain" model (forget scorch imprinting) was either being ignored or instantly dismissed. Why not sit back for a while I thought, and allow time for my new, maybe maverick ideas, to sink in. But that does not mean ignoring what is said or written while that bedding-in process takes effect.
Anyway, I sat through the 60 minutes or so of de Wesselow's lecture, apparently (from the brief preamble) brought to us courtesy of David Rolfe and his Performance Films (DR I have to say not being my favourite shroudologist, having referred to this blogger not so long ago as a "Johnny Come Lately who will always be a Johnny Come Lately").
Be that as it may, I took careful note of the points being made by de Wesselow in his low key but decidedly partisan pro-authenticity presentation, during which I sat up at two points with what politely might be called deja vu moments. (Not knowing Dr. de Wesselow personally,or having engaged with him on this or other blogsites, I refer to him here by his surname, with no offence or disrespect intended: one does not wish to seem over-familiar).
The first was when he put up an image of the scourge marks. Yup, I'd definitely seen that image somewhere else, like one of, you know, my own postings from way, way back, in which the somewhat monochrome Shroud Scope offerings, excellent though they are, had been given some extra contrast and brightness in Microsoft Office Picture Manager.
But as indicated, there was a second deja vu moment, one I have to say that rankled a wee bit more. It was when de Wesselow got onto to his argument that no medieval forger would have attempted to represent what an imprint of Christ might have looked like, based on his somewhat questionable, indeed dubious claim that there was already a supposed imprint in existence, namely the Veil of Veronica. But extant images he said of the Veronica were clearly painted POSITIVE images, and there was no precedent for there being a more realistic-looking true NEGATIVE imprint. Ipso facto, the TS could not have been influenced by the imagery, and thus IDEA of the Veil of Veronica. (Methinks there's a logical flaw there, but never mind).
Here, on the left, is an image I posted many moons ago, making a connection between the TS and the Veil of Veronica. On the right is de Wesselow's slide that determined to sever any supposed linking (by person or persons unknown) between the TS and the Veil of Veronica (with no acknowledgement to the source of what clearly to Dr. de Wesselow is an entirely erroneous idea that needs immediate stamping on).
Yup, that's my image you see on the left, with the Machy Mould/Lirey Medallion face from the mid or late 1350s (grey) compared with a carefully-selected artist's rendering of the Veil of Veronica.
On the right you see the TS compared with... yes, you guessed correctly - the Veil of Veronica and (almost, but not quite) the same image. Snap.
Correction: the one on the white outstretched sheet (far right) IS the same - or virtually identical- as the one I chose.
Now listen you guys, I know I said I was resting, but if you access my postings (as was clearly the case with the enhanced Shroud Scope scourge mark images) and arguably the one I did on the likely Veronica connection, then kindly give a credit. It's how academe is supposed to operate (or did at any rate between 1963 and 1990 when I was ensconced in those ivory towers - or the immediate hinterland thereof.
It's also called fair play. Thanking you for your (future) cooperation. Yup, I'll be watching. Detectives, on the case, never cease WATCHING.
See also this blogger's specialist Shroud site.
Colin Berry PhD
15th June 2015
Afterthought: This posting was not intended to present a detailed critique of de Wesselow's thesis. That would take a little time, and in any case, notwithstanding his opening remarks about how we should all recognize and respect our differences in speciality and thus approach, that art historian's treatment of the TS as not-a-recognizable-work-of-art and thus a genuine relic frankly flawed logic. Yes, I know he looked at, and very quickly excluded medieval forgery too as a more logical alternative to art. But the argument deployed was fallacious. He made a big thing of the Shroud image's negative character, making plentiful allusions to photography, and then declared that no medieval forger would have possessed our modern concept of "negative" photographic character and ipso fact would never have set out to produce a negative image, that being anachronistic. WRONG,WRONG,WRONG ....
Of course they knew nothing about negative photographic images. But they did know about imprints that can be left by, say, muddy bare feet on light coloured surfaces.
They knew about their peculiar character, notably their incompleteness due to presence or absence of the physical contact needed for imaging. They knew about the strangeness of contact-only imprints in other contexts, like brass rubbings or branding of livestock with hot irons. A medieval pilgrim, laying eyes for the first time, would not have said: "That's a negative image". What he would have said, in all probability, noting the empty eye sockets and other gaps in the image due to sunken relief was "That's not a painting - it's a whole body imprint".
No, artist's did not represent the Veil of Veronica as an imprint, the latter being, let's face it, 'non-photogenic' in modern parlance. They did not need to, since the Veil, being an object of legend and thus wonder, could be claimed to have transformed by supernatural agency from simple imprint to a real likeness of Jesus, finally to resemble a painted portrait that today we would describe as a "positive" image.
The life-size double body image, frontal v dorsal, head to head, on quality linen would have told him immediately that what he was looking at was not an artist's portrait, but an actual body imprint, a CONTACT-ONLY imprint, whether "authentic" or not. The location of bloodstains would have removed virtually any doubt as to genuineness, the so-called "clincher" we see being touted to this day, backed by much pseudo-pathology and haematology. But as said many times before, the faking of bloodstains "in all the right places" is made a lot simpler when there was no attempt whatsoever to represent actual wounds (torn or punctured flesh) in the body image. In the "stick 'n' stain" model, the blood is added as drops and dribbles on top of the imprinting medium (flour glue?) before applying linen. That explains why there is no "tearing" of "blood clots", for the simple reason there were no blood clots to start with, the blood either being applied fresh, before it had time to clot, or maybe in a form that had no clotting tendency (viz. an earlier idea of mine that the semi-digested contents of medicinal leeches might have been used as the source of non-clotting blood, as well as this follow-up posting.).
So who commissioned so meticulously-executed and convincing a forgery?
This page from wikipedia probably provides the answer. Look at the 2 names highlighted in yellow: the highest man in the land - King John II of France, aka John the Good - and his close confidante, Geoffroi de Charny, Lord of Lirey.
De Charny died at the Battle of Poitiers, proud bearer of the Oriflamme (royal standard) , his lord and master King John being captured by the English and held to ransom. It was against this background that the Shroud made its first recorded public display, probably 1357 or thereabouts. Where? Lirey. At whose behest? The newly widowed wife of Geoffroi de Charny, Jeanne de Vergy.
What seems probable is the the Shroud was commissioned as a prestigious accoutrement for the Order of the Star. When the latter became essentially defunct with the death of de Charny and the king's capture at the battle of Poitiers, it maybe fell to de Charny's widow to make a decision as to what to do with the Shroud. A small collegiate chapel in Lirey had, after all, been previously authorised and constructed to house what was probably the Shroud. She decided to put it on public display, at the same time commissioning the highly informative Lirey Pilgrim's badge, much to the chagrin of the local bishop, who believed (probably correctly) the shroud to be a fake that had been "cunningly painted". Indeed it was, if what was "painted" was not the linen directly, but a combination of a bas relief (for the face only ) and a real person (for the rest of body), the two used conjointly for IMPRINTING by contact onto linen. Hat tip to Luigi Garlaschelli for suggesting the dual-origin template.
Single stage imprinting with a yellow dye might be theoretically possible, but it's this blogger's belief that a two-stage methodology was used. First stage: paint the templates with an innocuous organic substance that could be colorless of nearly so, preferably one with adhesive properties for high fidelity imprinting (flour/water glue?). Then add the trickles of blood. Then and only then imprint onto linen. Stage 2: develop the image chemically to produce a yellow-brown body image without seriously altering the colour of the blood (maybe turns a brighter red?). Second stage developing agent? Possibly nitric acid (HNO3) which works in the cold, or maybe hot limewater (calcium hydroxide). See previous postings on this site for progress to date since April this year in verifying experimentally the proposed two-stage forgery model.
NB: this blogger did not set out with the intention of disproving the Shroud's authenticity (or proving its non-authenticity). There was no need for that, given he accepts the radiocarbon dating, warts 'n' all, and feeling the onus is on those who reject it to press for re-testing. No, his research, starting December 2011, was a response to Paolo Di Lazzaro and others who claimed that the TS image characteristics, notably superficiality, could or would never be reproduced in a laboratory.
By the same token, this blogger no longer wishes to engage with the pro-authenticity lobby. He knows all their arguments, and has to say he is not impressed with either the science or the logic, for which the appropriate description is "special pleading". What's missing is scientific objectivity, where one subjects one's own hypotheses to the same or greater level of critical scrutiny as those from someone else.
Another postscript: followers of this blog will know that I recently listed 10 reasons (initially) for thinking the Shroud was an imprint, not a free-hand painting (as that irritating Charles Freeman would have us belief, despite lacking a single good argument). I then added another 5 a few days ago.
The mention made above to the Lirey Pilgrim's badge has made me realize there's a 16th reason!
Why go to all the trouble of showing the Man on the Shroud as semi-3D, i.e. bas relief, if the mid-14th century Shroud looked like a conventional painting, with conventional paint pigments used that, according to Freeman have since detached, leaving us with a mere ghost image (yeah, right)?
Answer: they went to the trouble of casting in bas relief because the original Shroud did NOT look like a conventional painting. It looked like a faint contact IMPRINT with real-looking blood, so the badge designer, wishing to emphasize that the image was an imprint, showed the man as he might have looked when laid out on the linen, frontal-side up (left) and dorsal side up (right). There's a world of difference between an artist's representation of a human subject, and a body imprint, whether real or faked. The latter is a mere impression, restricted to areas of physical contact only. The latter image is incomplete, as mentioned earlier, due to the presence of non-contact areas. Medieval pilgrims would have sussed out quickly (with the help of additional visual cues) that they were looking at an imprint, not a painting. It does not say much for the "just a painting" school of so-called thought, correction, blind-or-indifferent-to-the-facts dogma, that despite the benefit of decades of photography and image analysis, it still fails to spot the bleedin' obvious. That choice adjective is a reference to the bloodstains, natch.
Update Tuesday 16 June. Other irons in other fires: here's a comment on a Telegraph posting that provoked the response that follows (topic: the Greek debt crisis, now threatening finally to implode).