Veronica's Veil

Claude Mellan (French, 1598 – 1688)
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Purchased with funds donated by Judith Kingma '56 Hazelton
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Legend says that Saint Veronica was a kindly woman who wiped Christ’s face with her veil while he was carrying the cross on the road to Calvary. An image of Christ’s face was divinely transferred onto the cloth, which subsequently became a holy relic of the Roman Catholic Church. Interest in Veronica’s Veil surged as part of a renewed emphasis on saints and relics during the Catholic Counter Reformation in the 16th and 17th centuries. This dramatic engraving of Veronica’s veil was created by the French portrait artist Claude Mellan using a single line that spirals outward from the tip of Christ’s nose. Mellan modelled the features of Christ’s face and achieved an illusion of three-dimensionality by modulating the thickness, depth, and spacing of the line. It is a true masterpiece of printmaking that has enjoyed high acclaim since it was first published in 1649. 

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