Hyper-Realistic Exhibit Based on the Holy Shroud Is on Display in Spain
This Holy Week, Gaudix Cathedral in Granada, Spain, is hosting the recreation based on data obtained from the Shroud of Turin, an artifact that many believe to be the burial shroud of Christ.
This Holy Week, Gaudix Cathedral in Granada, Spain, is hosting the exhibition of the first hyper-realistic recreation based on data obtained from the Shroud of Turin, an artifact that many believe to be the burial shroud of Christ.
The exhibit first opened at Salamanca Cathedral in central Spain and will remain in Granada until June 30, after which it will tour Europe for the remainder of 2023.
The sculpture, made of latex and silicone, weighs about 165 pounds.
The posture portrays rigor mortis. The legs are somewhat bent, hands crossed at the level of the pubis. There is no false modesty in the figure. The entire body of the Man on the Shroud is visible, nothing omitted, including circumcision.
The hair that has been used is human and can be seen all over the body, from the feet to the head with all realism, without leaving out a detail.
When one approaches the figure — with hands behind one’s back in accordance with exhibit rules for visitors — one can observe every pore of the skin, freckles, eyelashes and eyebrows.
The back is slightly raised, making apparent the lacerations on the head, and there is a kind of small braid that ties the hair on the back of the head. Also seen are the bruises on the shoulders.
On the skin you can see each of the tearing wounds, as well as the one between the fifth and sixth ribs on the right side. The nose is broken and the right eye bruised.
While it was on display in his diocese, Bishop Jose Luis Retana Gozalo of Salamanca said that this hyper-realistic representation does not imply a “theological conflict.” On the contrary, he said, “it will be an aid to see the Mystery, a call towards the Mystery.”
In addition to the figure, there is a preliminary exhibit that explains the reality of scourging and crucifixion and the research on the Holy Shroud of Turin.
The hyper-realistic sculpture tries to present before the viewer a “body of human quality without artistic movement,” without interpretation, made from multidisciplinary scientific data based on studies on the Holy Shroud.
The curator of the exhibition, Álvaro Blanco, who dedicated more than 15 years of research into its realization, gives a lengthy prior explanation of the historical and scientific data that culminates in the hyper-realistic body.
Blanco said during the presentation of the exhibition in the sacristy of the Cathedral of Salamanca that, at the moment of seeing the finished body sculpture, he was convinced that “he was before Jesus; he was before the image of the body of Jesus of Nazareth.”
A group of artists created the sculpture under Blanco’s direction.
“The Mystery Man” is presented by ArtiSplendore, a company specializing in cultural and artistic patrimony exhibitions and tourism.
“In the next 20 years, we want to go to churches around the world,” said the company’s executive director.
Blanca Ruiz Antón, another spokesperson for the exhibit, told CNA that “Italy will be our next location after Guadix,” adding that though there are no current plans to do so, they “would love to go to the States.”
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It was translated and adapted by CNA on Oct. 22, 2022, and updated on April 5, 2023. Register staff contributed to the editing of this version.