(OSV News) — The exhibition in Spain featuring a hyper-realistic painting of the lifeless body of Jesus gives a greater appreciation and understanding of the passion, much more like the centuries-old artwork that adorns countless churches around the world, said curator Alvaro Blanco.
While altarpieces in the 17th and 18th centuries were important tools used to “explain to people who did not know how to read” about the passion of Jesus, Blanco said of the “Mystery of Man” exhibition, now standing for the second and last time in southern Spain; helps people understand the “history of Jesus” from an archaeological point of view.
Blanco is in charge of the “Mystery Man” exhibition, which was inaugurated in the Cathedral of Salmantica in October. The traveling exhibition is now in its second residence at the Cathedral of Guadix, located in the southern Spanish province of Granada.
The exhibition will conclude in June and will continue its journey through Europe, starting in Italy.
Today, we need “something visual and emotional and artistic impact that elevates art,” Blanco told OSV News on April 6.
Just as Leonardo da Vinci or Michelangelo used the Gospels to inspire their art, “we do the same with access to archaeological findings and other elements that allow us to tell the story of Jesus of Nazareth.”
The image is a similar model of the man found on the Shroud of Turin, the famous 14-foot, 4-foot burial shroud, which is a photograph of a man bearing signs of wounds that correspond to Gospel accounts. Jesus endured torture in his passion and death. Wounds – the description of the scourging and crucifixion covers and position is a model of how we looked at the body of Jesus inside the shroud.
Since the first time in the middle of the 14th century, the Catholic Church has never officially governed the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin.
Scientists have debated its authenticity for decades and studies have led to conflicting results, including a 1988 carbon dating test that dated the cloth to the 12th century, leading many to conclude that the Shroud is a medial forgery.
However, other scientists have challenged their claim by noting that the testing methodology is flawed and that an example used in the Morbid carbon process was a fragment to correct cloths in the Middle Ages.
Blanco told OSV News that he wasn’t sure how people would react to the exhibition when Salmantica first opened and thought it would be difficult for visitors who were “used to images more rooted in art.”
However, the reaction was “much better than I expected”, he said, adding that thousands of visitors were affected by the image, not because it is “free of any interpretation, but which is reflected in the Cover (of Turin) which gives a lot more meaning to the story”.
“From the first moment, the look (of Jesus model) was very acceptable and had a strong impact on people, because the first hyper-realistic figure of Jesus of Nazareth was created.”
Blanco told the OSV news that the man on the Shroud of Turin bore the same wounds that Jesus recounted in the Gospels and that the history of memory betrayed more than mere events.
And when some ask me: How do you say that Jesus is here?
He also noted that the evidence of the blood stains on the Shroud matched the stains of the famous Shroud of Oviedo, the cloth wrapped around the head of Jesus that is now in northern Spain.
Scientific debates are omitted, for Blanco, “The Man of Mystery” is much more than a true-to-life representation of the image on the shroud, but a work of art that, like other images of Christ’s passion and death, arouses feelings and truths; piety and love
Why is beauty found in the exact representation of a man, bruised, bloody and dead? This is because “it’s not death, it’s sacrifice,” said Blanco. “The sacrifice of Jesus is commemorated by him (Jesus), through his flesh and blood.”
“I saw us in films, in processions, in paintings, and suddenly you find yourself in front of a living image of this body,” he added. “It does not make it unpleasant, but an inevitable feeling of pity.”