The Shroud of Turin has captivated the world for centuries. Today, people across the globe continue to believe that the mystery image imprinted on the cloth was created during Jesus Christ's resurrection. But, in a new book, an art expert claims that the shroud is merely a man-made replicate of the original.
After months of looking closely at photographs of the cloth, historian and author Luciano Buso believes that a famous Italian artist – Giotto – created the shroud. This isn’t the first time that someone has cast doubt on the cloth's origins, but it is the first time that Giotto, a Renaissance artist, has been named as the individual behind the work. The Daily Mail has more:
[Buso] says that several veiled appearances of the number 15, hidden in the fabric by the artist, indicate Giotto created the Shroud in 1315 - and that it is a copy of the original which had been damaged and was then lost over the centuries…
Mr Buso's insists that 700 years ago it was common practice for artists to insert partial dates into their works so as to guarantee their authenticity and it was known only to a handful of people so as to avoid forgeries.
In an interesting twist, Buso tells reporters that he believes the current shroud is merely a replicate of the original; the original, he says, was, indeed, the sheet that was placed over Jesus' body after his death. So, unlike other critics, he believes that Christ resurrected and that there was a sheet, at some point, that showcased related imagery.
The reason the shroud was duplicated, you ask? Buso believes it may have been so tattered that the Catholic Church asked the artist to create a new version. He thinks that the original fabric was lost or burned sometime after the replicate was made, leaving only the artists' rendition behind.
Critics cast serious doubt on this theory, as they maintain that the shroud the contemporary world has come to know is the original. Interestingly, to this day experts have not been able to figure out how the image that exists on the current version was created.
This new theory only adds to the mystique that surrounds the Shroud of Turin. Currently, the famed religious symbol is owned by the Vatican and is kept in a "protective chamber in a chapel in Turin Cathedral." The relic has only been shown publicly a hand full of times over the past century. According to the Telegraph:
It was first brought to Europe after the crusades and according to one theory was guarded by the Knights Templar during the 13th and 14th centuries. It was then said to have passed in 1453 to the Savoy family of France.
In the 1980s radiocarbon dating tests suggested that it was a medieval forgery, although those results were later disputed.
What do you think? Is the shroud Jesus Christ's burial cloth or is it simply a man-made piece of artwork?