This is one example of why I love science so much!
Wednesday July 1, 2009
AN image that has intrigued the Christian world for hundreds of years is a fake, it has been revealed.
A study claims to have unearthed evidence proving that the image on the Turin Shroud is not that of Jesus but is in fact Leonardo da Vinci – the Renaissance painter and scientist long suspected of faking the hallowed relic.
Experts believe the image was transferred to the cloth using early photographic techniques, the details of which have come to light thanks to computer technology.
The discovery was made by Lillian Schwartz, a graphic consultant at the School of Visual Arts in New York, famous for her theory that the Mona Lisa was also based on a self- portrait of Da Vinci.
Ms Schwartz used sophisticated computer scans to reveal that the faces of the Mona Lisa and the Turin Shroud bear exactly the same dimensions as Da Vinci’s head.
Experts have described the breakthrough as the most exciting discovery in the shroud’s mysterious history. Da Vinci has long been suspected of faking what is believed to be Christ’s burial cloth and historians believe he would have had the necessary skills to pull it off.
According to the research, which will be revealed in a documentary on channel Five tonight, Da Vinci created the image using a primitive photographic technique known as camera obscura. He hung the fabric over a wooden frame in a blacked-out room before coating it in a light-sensitive substance.
Then he used a sculpture of his own head and face to project an image onto the linen.
The permanent print was scorched on the cloth when the sun’s ultra-violet rays passed through a crystal lens set in one of the walls.
Ms Schwartz came to prominence in the 1980s with her experiments to measure the Mona Lisa and compare it with a self portrait of Da Vinci.To her amazement, the faces lined up perfectly, leading to the conclusion that the famous painting must have been based on his own image. When she was asked earlier this year to compare another Da Vinci self-portrait to the face on the Turin Shroud, she was stunned to discover the proportions of the key facial features were again identical.
She said: “It matched. There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this shroud’s face.” The program claims Da Vinci was not only a heretic with no qualms about faking Christ’s burial cloth but was the only person in that era with the knowledge to produce it.
He was also a pioneer in the field of primitive optical technology, with his notebooks containing one of the earliest drawings and descriptions of a camera obscura.
The theory is that Da Vinci’s forgery was commissioned to replace an earlier version that was exposed as a poor fake, which had been bought by the powerful Savoy family in 1453 only to disappear for 50 years.