3D Anaglyph of the Shroud
Medallions of Lirey
Byzantine Coins and the Shroud
The Shroud of Turin is the cloth believed to have been used to inter Jesus Christ.
(March 3, 2014)
The French magazine "L'Histoire" (History) has a large readership in France. In February 2012, this magazine published a 28-page dossier (report) titled "Le Suaire de Turin, la vraie histoire d'un faux" (The Shroud of Turin, the true history of a fake) composed of eight articles and one interview with Andrea Nicolotti. The title definitely sets the tone (and the conclusion): the reader is expecting some facts supporting that the Shroud of Turin is a fake. But the magazine presents few reliable information towards that goal and a totally unsubstantiated claim made by Jean Wirth, professor and medieval art historian at the University of Geneva. More details about that claim below.
The first 12 pages of that report includes a transcription of an interview with Andrea Nicolotti, historian at the University of Turin (Andrea Nicolotti's interview in French (full article with paid access)) and various details about the history of the Shroud alongside photographs of a Medallion of Lirey (see Medallions of Lirey in English (this web site)), Ulysse Chevalier, Secondo Pia, and more. The major shortcoming of the report, which includes the details reported by Nicolotti, is the omission of major unique physical facts of the image of the Shroud, such as its superficiality and 3D quality. These details are essential to understand what is really the Shroud of Turin. Are these omissions due to the fact that they would support the authenticity of the Shroud and putting doubts into the claim that it is a fake? It is true that the specialty of Nicolotti is history, not physics, although explaining such qualities does not require deep knowledge of physics and they simply cannot be ignored. Instead, we are given details on the very controversial putative "writings" on the Shroud. Such a subject should be left aside because it is complex, speculative, and is not readily accepted by many researchers. Naturally, some other major physical fact, such as the 1988 radio carbon dating is mentioned. This fact is in favor of the Shroud being a fake, and it is the only serious one.
Then comes a two-page presentation by Jean Wirth, medieval art historian and professor at the University of Geneva. The author, Jean Wirth, states that the Shroud is "Une peinture en très piteux état" (A painting in a very poor condition)! Less than ten sentences appear on these two pages because a large, and damaged, photograph of the Shroud is displayed on them. That photograph is attributed to Secondo Pia (1898) kept at the museum Nicephore Niepce at Châlon-sur-Saône (a photography museum). That photograph appears damaged with uneven colors and a major discoloration at the front feet. Was the selection of that damaged photograph an attempt to support the claim that the Shroud is a painting in a very poor condition? Naturally, since 1898, we have much better photographs like the one taken in 2002 by Durante (see it on the Shroud Scope).
Going back to the main claim by Wirth, namely that the Shroud is "A painting in a very poor condition": this statement needs some support, but we are not given any physical presentation nor any explanation on how it would have reached this state. Not a single other example from the whole history of medieval painting could be given! It is as if the Shroud had been painted with magic paint. In the subtitle of the article, it is claimed that professor Wirth did an investigation and found surprising conclusions. But no specific references to that investigation to support this claim is given. Has professor Wirth ever looked at some photomicrographs of the image of the Shroud of Turin? Such a claim must be based on some analysis of the physical characteristics of the image of the Shroud, otherwise it is very speculative. No such analysis is given. In fact, it can readily be seen from the photomicrographs, and the high definition images of the Shroud, that such a statement defies common sense: a degraded painting would have left a large number of microscopic paint particles all over the Shroud. We do not see such particles. In fact, this claim of a degraded painting contradicts a simple observation: the bloodstains should also have degraded as much as the image itself. This is not the case: microscopically, the bloodstains appear very different when compared to the image. The only way that such an hypothesis could be taken seriously would be to paint on a cloth, beats it whichever way imaginable, and show that the result resembled the Shroud. Nobody has ever shown such a result because common sense tells us that millions of microscopic paint particles would be left in the crevices of the linen cloth. These particles are not seen on the Shroud of Turin.
Jean Wirth also states: "L'absence de distorsion de la silhouette exclut qu'il puisse s'agir de l'empreinte d'un objet tridimensionnel" ("The absence of distortions from the Shroud image exclude the possibility that it is an imprint of a tridimensional object."). Really! Just like that, by one statement, professor Wirth concludes that the image must have distortions if it were coming from a tridimensional object. I doubt that professor Wirth even tried to search for papers that sudied this question. For example, the following paper The Turin Shroud was not flattened before the images formed and no major image distortions necessarily occur from a real body shows that major distortions does not occur. In summary, this paper points out that no major distortions occur even when coming from a tridimensional corpse because its sides are not shown on the Shroud and the cloth was not tightly covering the body. This is a major elementary error on the part of professor Wirth.
My main conclusion: professor Wirth did not study or ignored all the proper physical characteristics of the Shroud, made several erroneous statements, and an entirely speculative claim without any supporting arguments.
This speculative claim is followed by another two-page article on the ancient copies of the Shroud. The unknown author of these two pages did not point out a simple fact: no ancient copies was ever close in its physical details to the Shroud of Turin. This would have shown that no medieval artist, and no non-medieval one, has ever been known to be able to reproduce the unique physical characteristics of the Shroud of Turin. Moreover, there is no known historical record of a named artist claiming to have produced the Shroud of Turin and no serious art historian has ever proposed any artist. The only known historical record relating the Shroud to a purported artist comes from Pierre D'Arcis, the bishop of Troyes (a city not far from Lirey) in 1389, claiming in a letter to the Antipope Clement VII, that 32 years before, his predecessor Henri de Poitiers, had discovered the artist who had confessed painting the Shroud. The artist is not named, there is no historical record that Henri de Poitiers made such a claim, and this is most likely untrue because the Shroud is not a painting.
The report ends with three articles: the resemblance of the Shroud with Byzantine epitaphios, the numerous false relics in medieval time, and a two-page article by Yann Potin touching on the Veronica.
The resemblance of the Shroud with Byzantine epitaphios is a double-edge sword argument: we can argue that the Shroud is based on these epitaphios or the other way around, that is, the Shroud inspired the Byzantine artists to produce the epitaphios. Indeed, from many other sources we know that the Shroud was likely in the hands of the Byzantine empire over many centuries which would have inspired many Byzantine artists. Moreover, all these epitaphios are obviously artistic rendering (man made) but the image on the Shroud does not appear so. But it appears less likely that a medieval (14th century) French artist would have used Byzantine artistic style than Byzantine artists would have based their style on the Shroud; in other words, the theory that the Shroud was owned by the Byzantine empire, prior to 1204, appears more likely.
The last article by Yann Potin presents, among other things, the Veronica but does not mention the latest development which I believe would have been quite informative: the Veronica would be the Veil of Manoppello, a claim that appears to be plausible. The "Veronica" currently kept at the Vatican appears to be a painting but it is not obvious that the Veil of Manoppello is a painting. It is as if that article had been written more than six years ago, missing the latest discoveries.
(January 20, 2014)
In 1978, the scientific investigation of the Shroud by STURP (Shroud of TUrin Research Project) included the taking of more than 46 photomicrographs by Mark Evans; and Barrie Schwortz helped record their locations on the Shroud. Mark Evans has made 32 of these photomicrographs available to Barrie Schwortz, STERA Inc.
These photomicrographs are very important to better understand the uniqueness of the image on the Shroud, more specifically, the superficiality of the image and the lack of any obvious paint.
Below is a sample of four of these 32 photomicrographs:
With the permission of Barrie Schwortz, I present these 32 photomicrographs at 25% of their original resolution on the following web page. That web page directly presents thumb size reproduction of the photomicrographs, but clicking on any of them will open up a new web page with a larger version.
The 32 photomicrographs are also accessible via the Shroud Scope with a new overlay. Each small green rectangle on the Shroud Scope is a location where a photomicrograph was taken. Notice that more photomicrographs are available from the dorsal image than the ventral image. The zoom-in and zoom-out of the Shroud Scope may help you locate all green rectangles.
(December 8, 2013)
A 2015 exposition of the Shroud has been announced by the Archbishop of Turin, Cesare Nosiglia, who is also the Papal Custodian of the Shroud. This exposition will be the third one since 2000, the previous one was in 2010. The exposition will be held at the Cathedral of Turin, Italy, where the Shroud has been kept for the last 400 years. The exposition will last about 45 days, from mid-April 2015 to August 16, 2015.
The following photographs were taken at the 2010 exposition in the Turin Cathedral showing how the Shroud is displayed for everyone to see. The first photograph presents the entire Shroud in its protective, climate-controlled case, illuminated by dimmed front lights. Note that the Shroud is not regularly on display and the protective case is hidden from view in the adjacent Royal Chapel. You can click on the photographs to open a new tab displaying enlarge views..
This is the Shroud in its protective climate-controlled case as exposed in the Turin Cathedral during the 2010 exposition. The frontal image is on the left whereas the dorsal image is on the right. The radiocarbon dating sample was taken, in 1988, from the top left corner. Not readily visible at this distance on this photograph: the triangle shaped holes are no longer covered by any patches as they used to be prior to 2002. This is one of the main changes to the Shroud since its 2000 exposition. The Shroud appears to have less creases and wrinkles compared to the 2000 exposition. Click on the photograph to enlarge it. (© Mario Latendresse)
The following photographs show close-up views: the ventral part, the center part, and the dorsal part.
(November 29, 2013)
In September of this year (2013), the Institut Catholique de Paris (Catholic University of Paris) decided to put on sell a collection of a dozen rare photos of the Shroud derived from the 1931 Enrie's photographic plates. The auction was planned by the Ader Nordman auction house on November 17 (see the Art Newspaper article) .
The collection was donated by Paul Vignon (deceased in 1943) who used it for conferences and presentations. Paul Vignon was a biologist and a pioneer in Shroud research. He wrote several books about the Shroud and experimented on at least one theory of formation of the image on the Shroud (see a short Biography of Paul Vignon by Paul de Gail).
But the sale never took place!
The collection was also planned to be shown to prospective buyers at the Institut Catholique de Paris, but that also never took place.
According to a representative of Ader Nordman, the Institut Catholique retracted its sale and no reason was given.
What did happen? We can only speculate: did a buyer come forward before the auction and made a generous offer to acquire the entire collection?; did the Institut Catholique realize that the time was not ripe to sell that collection?; or something else?
Acknowledgment: I am grateful to a family member who visited the Institut Catholique and the Ader Nordman auction house in Paris to get the information presented in this article.
(April 21, 2013)
The formation of the image on the Shroud of Turin has never been completely elucidated. The physical and chemical aspects (e.g., superficiality, color, lack of pigments) of the image have been studied since 1978, but the mechanism that formed them has not been determined, although some competing hypotheses have been suggested and experimented. On the other hand, very little has been computationally simulated to replicate the conditions under which the image of the Shroud was formed. The following study is doing some steps in that direction.
The two images below show a 3D representation of a head and of the same head loosely covered with a sheet. They were produced by reconstructing the 3D representation of the head of a plastic mannequin and the covering sheet. The preliminary study will be to computationally simulate the projection of the image of the 3D face onto the 3D sheet, using various parameters of directionality, intensity, vertical distance, and so on. In particular, it will be possible to compute precisely the various distances between the surface of the face and the sheet itself during that simulation. These distances are very important as the intensity of the image of the Shroud are related to them.
The sheet will then be computationally flatten to render a flatten image similar to the way the Shroud is shown. This image will give a better idea which parameters give a result close to the Shroud of Turin.
This study will also determine in a very precise way if any major distortion occurs depending on the looseness of the cloth covering the head and the parameters used for the simulation.
(March 30, 2013)
The replay of the exposition of the Shroud of March 30, 2013, in Italian, is now available from RAI Uno: Une version française de l'ostension du Linceul de Turin: Ostension du Saint-Suaire de Turin, de KTOtv.
(March 28, 2013)
Haltadefinizione just released the "Shroud 2.0" application for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. The free version allows you to explore the application and for $3.99 you can access the highest definition of the images of the Shroud. You will need iOS 6.0 to run this application.
In the application, the Shroud of Turin is presented with very high definition images in a similar manner as the Shroud Scope: panning the Shroud will request, over the Internet, image tiles of the Shroud entire image. In general, it is therefore required to have an Internet connection while using the application. Several features are available, such as the ability to turn positive or negative the current image displayed, change its contrast, and more. A bird's view navigator window can be opened to better locate the region of the Shroud shown. The overall work is of very high quality. More details are provided on the Apple App Store by simply following this link.
The release of the "Shroud 2.0" application is a very good initiative by Haltadefinizione. It allows easy access to the very high definition image of the Shroud captured in 2008.
Very instructive details can be seen on these images that could not easily be seen before. For example, it becomes clearer that some of the bloodstains on the forarms are located next to images of bloodstains or wounds. This particular detail is consistent with the tridimensional form of a real arm: the Shroud was in contact with the bloodstains on the arm, then the curvature of the arm made it such that the Shroud was no longer in direct contact with some bloodstains but at a distance of just one or a few milimeters. The screen snapshot below show such details.
Also, the stains seen on the buttocks appear clearer as bloodstains not as burn marks as some suggest.
The resolution of the images provided by "Shroud 2.0" is higher than the Shroud Scope. But you can use the Shroud Scope to view high definition images of the Shroud on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch without installing any application and, of course, for free. You simply open your browser and point it to www.sindonology.org/shroudScope/shroudScope.shtml or simply visit this Web site with your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch, and touch with your finger on the Shroud image on the right side of the Web page. The Shroud Scope has also several different base images including the Enrie image of 1931 and a mechanism (called permalink) that allows you to bookmark a specific location and a zoom level, on one of the base Shroud images, to keep and share with other people.
(March 27, 2013)
The TV broadcast of the exposition of the Shroud of Turin will be on Saturday, March 30, from RAI Uno at 5:15 pm, Turin time, which will be early morning in America. Pope Francis will open the exposition. It will last about 45 minutes. Consult the Web site of RAI TV for more details and specially the RAI TV Guide.
On Friday, March 29, special presentations on the Shroud will also be broacasted by RAI Uno. In particular, at 2:10 pm "A sua immagine Speciale Venerd́ Santo: L'uomo della Sindone" and at 8:30 pm "Porta a Porta Speciale Venerd́ Santo Sindone mistero svelato?". The details are provided on the RAI TV Guide from the link above.
If you do not have access to the RAI Uno channel from your cable provider, you can try to watch the broadcasting from the live streaming video at the RAI Uno Web site. But, depending on your location, the streaming might be opened or blocked.
You should be able to watch a replay of the exposition, and all special presentations of March 29, from the RAI Uno Web site in which case no restriction of location applies.
(March 19, 2013)
The official Shroud Web site of Torino (www.sindone.org) provides, as of today and in Italian only, some basic information about the upcoming televised exposition of the Shroud on March 30. The exposition will be viewable using mobile devices via Internet but no details were given so far on the schedule or which devices will be supported.
An ANSA press release provides also some details about the upcoming exposition: Ratzinger orders TV broadcast of Shroud of Turin.
As soon as more details are known on how to view the exposition, I will post them on this Web site.
(February 28, 2013)
It was just announced that there will be on March 30 (Easter Saturday) a televised exposition of the Shroud of Turin, directly from the Turin Cathedral. It will last about an hour. This exposition was initiated by the leaving Pope, Benedict XVI.
A press conference will be held tomorrow (March 1) to officially announce this exposition and give more details. Tomorrow, I will be able to give more details, in particular on which channels (and perhaps from which Internet Web site) this exposition will be broadcast.
(February 20, 2013)
Alain Hourseau is the new owner of the 14th century mold, reproducing the Shroud, found by a jogger near Lirey in 2009. The transfer of ownership occurred a few days ago between the previous owner and Alain Hourseau. This is good news since Alain published a book about the mold and the life of Geoffroy de Charny, and knows well the value of such a rare artifact. Alain is also working on a project to promote the history of the Shroud at the local church in Lirey. Below is a recent photo of Alain Hourseau holding the mold.
(December 26, 2012)
A new base layer of the Shroud Scope has been created. It shows the vertical Enrie photograph in 3D. The details of the creation of the 3D version are described in the help page of the Shroud Scope in Section Enrie 3D Anaglyph Version.
The 3D effects exist for all zoom levels once the “Enrie Negative 3D Vertical” base layer has been selected. The 3D effects are most perceivable at the high zoom-in levels and most notably for the face.
Note that, all artifacts of the Shroud, that is, images, water stains, bloodstains, burned marks, and more, have been left unmodified during the 3D creation and are thus shown as they are without trying to remove or mitigate the 3D effects. We believe this is the genuine way to produce a 3D anaglyph photograph of the Shroud without human interpretation. It is also the simplest way. The Enrie photograph shows how realistic, corresponding to a real corpse, the 3D data have been encoded in the Shroud as levels of black (white on the negative) color. This is quite unique.
You will need 3D glasses to see the 3D effects. If you want to go directly to the 3D base layer of the Shroud Scope, click here.
(December 8, 2012)
Alain Hourseau, who lives at Bouilly, a few kilometers from Lirey, and work for the Assa Abloy group, recently (2012) published a monograph (link to Amazon) titled “Autour du Saint Suaire et de la collégiale de Lirey (Aube)” (in French) on the collégiale de Lirey, on the life of Geoffroy de Charny, and the Shroud. The monograph describes in great details the life of Geoffroy de Charny, his numerous trips in France and abroad, his “fait d'armes” (success) and failures at war. The collégiale at Lirey is the first location in France, and in Europe, to have presented the Shroud as the true Shroud of Christ.
This book can also be ordered in France from the following link (see the bottom of that Web page).
The creation of this monograph was prompted by an important fortuitous discovery, in 2009, by a jogger in Machy near Lirey: a mold to produce pilgrim's medallions (dated to the 14th century) representing the Shroud of Lirey. This mold is clearly different to the mold that produced the Lirey medallion kept at the Cluny Museum.
See Discovery of a Mold to produce Medallions at Lirey for more details about this mold.
Alain Hourseau has also prepared three conferences:
These conferences could be repeated, in French or English, upon invitation. Please contact Alain Hourseau via his website for more information.
(November 27, 2012)
When Secondo Pia made the first photograph of the Shroud in 1898, more than 100 years ago, he realized in one instant that the negative photograph he had created was visually extraordinary: details never seen before were now visible and we could perceive the tridimensionality of the face and body of the man of Shroud. It was so extraordinary that, back then, many accused Secondo Pia to have used photographic trickeries to enhance the Shroud images. Of course, there were no such trickeries. Secondo Pia was as surprised as everybody else.
More recently, computer image processing of the Shroud images allowed the creation of tridimensional effects using the anaglyph technique. You need special glasses made of colored filters to perceive the 3D effect of an anaglyph photograph.
Many popular image processing software (e.g., Photoshop, Gimp) can be used to create anaglyph images. It can be done from a single bidimensional (i.e., ordinary) photograph and a depth map image. That depth map image is black and white, has the same size of the original photograph, and describes the depth of field of the single image. The depth map is typically produced by hand since the single image does not contain depth information.
The following image of the face of the man of the Shroud is an anaglyph. It was produced without creating a depth map by hand since the original image itself was used as the depth map image. The original image used is from a screen snapshot of the Enrie photograph using by the Shroud Scope. In a next post, I will explain in more details how it was produced using the Gimp software. But the most important fact: no depth map image was created by hand to produce this anaglyph. Using the original image as the depth map cannot be done with ordinary photographs. This fact alone shows that the images on the Turin Shroud do contain 3D data and that these images were most likely produced by a corpse.
(November 19, 2012)
The presentation of the medallion of Lirey kept at the Cluny museum in Paris has been updated with new high definition photographs (See Medallion of Lirey). Among other details, these photographs show clearly the reproduction of two major blood stains on the Shroud: across the hips and across the feet.
(August 4, 2012)
A special issue on the Shroud of Turin was published on July 30 in the series Scientific Research and Essays published by Academic Journals, specializing in open access journals. This publisher reputation is very controversial. In any case, the quality of the research done reported by these papers should be primarily based on their content.
The special issue has two review papers and nine research papers. The papers are freely accessible (please follow the link above ). The special issue was supervised by Giulio Fanti a well-known researcher in the field of sindonology, the study of the Shroud of Turin.
(July 31, 2012)
The Shroud of Turin is believed to be the main cloth that was in direct contact with the body of Christ in its tomb. There are also other cloths, still with us today, claimed to have been in the tomb: the Sudarium of Oviedo, the Veil of Manoppello, the Coif of Cahors and the Cloth of Kornelimuenster. The Veil of Manoppello is the only other cloth, besides the Shroud of Turin, bearing an image.
The Web site Sudarium Christi has an instructive and beautiful presentation of a possible layering of these cloths. Although I doubt that the Sudarium of Oviedo was left on the face of Christ, this layering is possible although very difficult to prove. The Veil of Manoppello is proposed as the outer layer on the face since that cloth is small and has an image of a face.
The presence of the Coif of Cahors could explain that the hair around the face on the Shroud appears straight down and not spread out on each side of the head.
(May 28, 2012) On May 28, 1898, the first Shroud photograph is taken by Secondo Pia during an exposition in the duomo of Torino. The photograph reveals a new dimension unknown for centuries: the three dimensionality of the body appearing on the Shroud is clearly seen when looking at the negative of the photograph. Details that had never been seen is also revealed by the negative.
It immediately resulted in one of the greatest controversy in the history of the Shroud: Secondo Pia will be accused of trickery. Numerous articles appeared in the French press accusing Pia of using various technical tricks (e.g., lighting) to get the special effect that everyone can see on his Shroud photograph. Of course, nowadays, nobody is accusing the photographers of the Shroud of trickery but it took more than 33 years for that controversy to die down. That is until Giuseppe Enrie took the second photograph of the Shroud in 1931.
(May 27, 2012) I was recently reading the Shadow Shroud FAQ and came across inexact comments, once again, about the work on the double superficiality of the image on the Shroud of Turin (See Review of the paper of Maggiolo and Fanti). A few things are completely misunderstood about what this paper proved.
First, let us restate the two main independent claims made by the Maggiolo and Fanti's paper:
Note: "independent claims" means that the first claim does not imply the second claim. Also, note that such a double superficial image is only claimed for some parts of the face area. Nowhere else on the reverse side can we readily see any "image" (besides the various stains including the bloodstains).
First, many believe that the technical image processing used by Maggiolo and Fanti proved that the image on the reverse side is superficial. The technical image processing itself does not prove that at all. And the authors of the paper are very clear about that.
In essence, the "proof" that the reverse image is superficial is based on the fact (not observed by the authors) that the obverse image (the image that everybody can easily see) is superficial. It is a simple transitive inference: if the image on the obverse side is superficial, the reverse image must also be superficial.
Note that the existence of such a double superficial image does not exclude that some fluid went through the Shroud from the obverse to the reverse and formed images on each side. A dilute fluid can create a stain that is superficial on both sides of a cloth. (Stay tune for a proof of that claim).
The reverse side image reported by Maggiolo and Fanti can be seen from photographs without the help of any image processing. The image processing could probably be qualified as an objective mechanism used to confirm the presence of the image avoiding the typical error made by humans to see "things" via their imagination. But clearly, one can see the presence of hair image around the face on the reverse side without falling into this trap. It is confirmed by anybody looking at the (reverse side) photographs. So, there is no need to use digital image processing to confirm the presence of the image.
(March 1, 2012)
If you ever wondered what the Vatican Secret Archives are, follow the following link Vatican Secret Archives Exhibition. You can see some of the documents that will be shown in a new exhibition in Rome on the Vatican Secret Archives.
(February 13, 2012)
The theory that the Image of Edessa (a.k.a., Mandylion, The Image not Made with Human Hands) is the same as the Shroud of Turin has been well argued by Ian Wilson in his 1978 book, The Shroud of Turin. Over the years, his theory has been reinforced by many other findings, among them, the analyses of Byzantine coins. Wilson has maintained and reinforced his theory in many of his books, including the most recent one in 2010.
On this new Web page The Shroud of Turin and Two Byzantine Coins, I present a not so well-known Byzantine coin that has a very similar image as the face on the Shroud of Turin. This Byzantine coin is unique: it was made one year after the Image of Edessa was transferred to Constantinople, the Capital of Byzantium. It is another fact that supports the theory that the Image of Edessa is the same as the Shroud of Turin.