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La Sacra Sindone

The Holy Shroud

15 - 24 November

Space@Collins, The Walk Arcade, 1/278 Collins Street, Melbourne

A journey through history and art to discover the artistic legacy of the Holy Shroud through the artworks of Veronica Piraccini

The Holy Shroud by Veronica Piraccini is an unforgettable immersive experience designed to take the viewer on an insightful journey through history, art and science. It explores our enduring fascination with the Holy Shroud of Turin, a large linen cloth bearing the image of a crucified manalleged to be Jesus of Nazareth.

Since then, Piraccini’s works have been exhibited across the length and breadth of Italy, and in numerous galleries, museums and cathedrals abroad, including in the United States, Brazil, Africa, the Philippines, Spain, Mexico and China. In whatever part of the world her works have been exhibited, The Holy Shroud is considered a miracle of art and alchemy and always arouses great emotional responses from its viewers.

For centuries, the origin of the Holy Shroud of Turin and the image it bears have provoked myriad theories from multiple perspectives. The views of the Christian faithful, the revelations made by science and technology, and the history of art combined have magnified the mystery of how the image of Jesus Christ came to be impressed upon the Shroud of Turin. Whether you are a believer, atheist or agnostic, The Holy Shroud is an extraordinary exhibition that transforms an art gallery into a space for dialogue and contemplation. Having created a series of artworks born of contact with the Holy Shroud, and using a painting technique of her own invention, the remarkable achievement of Piraccini’s exhibition is that it stands unequivocally at the intersection of religion, science and art.

The Holy Shroud of Turin
2019

Program

15 November

Artworks Preview – by invitation only
Media Call 10.30am – Artworks Preview 6 - 9pm

16 November

General Admission and Opening Ceremony
2 Sessions: 11am, 2.30pm
Opening Ceremony 6 - 9pm

17 - 18 - 19 - 20 November

General Admission and Group Bookings
3 Sessions: 11am, 2.30pm, 6pm

21 November

General Admission and Private event
1 Session: 11am
Nixora Group Private Event 6pm

22 November

General Admission and Cocktail Party
1 Session: 11am - Fashion and Cocktail Party 6pm

23 November

General Admission
3 Sessions: 11am, 2.30pm, 6pm

24 November

Last day of exhibition and Closing Ceremony
1 Session: 11am
Closing Ceremony 6pm

Booking is Essential

Ticketing through Eventbrite, Facebook andArtgaianet.org


‍For Group Bookings/Special Needs/DietaryRequirements please call 0410 860 036 or contact info@artgaianet.com.au
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Religious Significance

For millions of the Christian faith the Shroud of Turin is physical proof of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. According to the Gospels of Matthew (27: 50–60), Mark (15:46) and Luke (23:53), Joseph of Arimathea, the man who took responsibility for Christ’s burial, is said to have taken the body down from the cross, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb that Joseph had reserved for himself. Three days later, according to the Gospel of John (20:6-7), the tomb had been opened and found empty except for “strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head.” But the passage that has had the profoundest influence on the Christian faithful is John’s account (20:24-29) of the skepticism of the apostle Thomas concerning Christ’s resurrection.
Giovanni Grattapaglia: La Vergine, Il beato Amedeo di Savoia e San Giovanni Battista sorreggono la Sindone c. 1650, affresco Palazzo Madama, Turin.
Duccio di Buoninsegna: The Holy Women at the Sepulchre c. 1308-11
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When told that Jesus had appeared to his other disciples, Thomas was doubtful and wanted physical proof: “Until I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” Some days later, Jesus appeared to Thomas and said, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

”While the Vatican has never taken an official position on how the image on the Holy Shroud was made, it encourages its flock to revere it as a symbol of the redemptive power of Christ’s suffering and resurrection. In 1998, Pope John Paul II was so deeply moved by the image of the Holy Shroud that he stated, “The Shroud is an image of God’s love as well as of human sin ...

The imprint left by the tortured body of the Crucified One, which attests to the tremendous human capacity for causing pain and death to one’s fellow man, stands as an icon of the suffering of the innocent in every age.”

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI described the Holy Shroud as an “extraordinary Icon written in blood, the blood of a man who was scourged, crowned with thorns, crucified and whose right side was pierced,” in which “we see, as in a mirror, our suffering in the suffering of Christ.” And in 2013, as part of Easter celebrations, Pope Francis stated that, “the Man of the Shroud invites us to contemplate Jesus of Nazareth,” that is, to reflect on the validity of what Jesus taught us.

Christians of several denominations, including Baptists, Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Orthodox, Pentecostals, and Presbyterians, treasure the Holy Shroud as the burial cloth of Jesus. For the faithful the world over the Holy Shroud of Turin is more than a mysterious image, it is a miracle. And, unlike the doubtful Thomas, a miracle does not require proof, but a leap of faith.

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Scientific Investigation

In 1898, an amateur photographer by the name of Secondo Pia took the first ever photograph of the Shroud of Turin, and when developing the negative discovered to his amazement that it showed a higher resolution image of a man’s face. His discovery initiated the field of modern sindonology, the formal study of the Shroud of Turin, the most scientifically researched, analysed and tested religious relic in the world.
The Holy Shroud at the University of Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 1988
The Holy Shroud at the University of Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, 1988
The vast majority of scientific work has been to determine whether it is or is not the actual burial cloth of Jesus of Nazareth. In 1902, Yves Delage, a professor of comparative anatomy, published a paper that declared the image anatomically flawless and argued that the features of rigor mortis, wounds, and blood flows were The original Holy Shroud and its negative evidence that the image was formed by contact with a corpse. Delage’s study, however, and similar studies that followed, were conducted without direct access to the Holy Shroud.
In 1969, a group of over thirty scientists formed the Shroud of Turin Research Project (commonly referred to as STURP) and were allowed to examine the fabric directly. They found no artificial pigments, dyes or stains and concluded that the image on the Holy Shroud is of a real man who was tortured and crucified. But scientists also conceded that they could not account for how  or when the image was made. In its final report, STURP concluded that “the image is an ongoing mystery and until further chemical studies are made, perhaps by this group of scientists, or perhaps by some scientists in the future, the problem remains unsolved.”

In 1988, the Vatican approved carbon-14 dating on samples taken from the Holy Shroud, which were sent to three laboratories: the University of Oxford’s Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, the University of Arizona, and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology. All three laboratories concluded that the samples dated between the years 1260 and 1390, more than 1000 years after the death of the historical Jesus.

This research was called into question because criticisms were raised regarding the samples taken for testing, as there is an obvious risk of contamination of fabric over time, as well as the possibility that the samples taken may represent medieval repair fragments.

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Manager

Shanna Orn

Financial Director

Timothy Bailey

Manager

Jon Breitenberg

Designer

Bertrand Bergstrom

Account Director

Destini Hauck

Manager

Shanna Orn

Artistic Truth

In 4th century Rome, Christians were permitted freedom of worship because Constantine the Great, who reigned between 306 and 337 AD, became the first Roman emperor to convert to Christianity. Christians were able to create art that depicted Jesus their Lord and Savior without fear of persecution. Icons of Christ, whether claimed to have come into existence miraculously or created by a human, have a long history in Christianity.
Detail of The Saint DamianCross, unknown artist, c. 1100

The Bible says the Apostoles Peter, John and James had visions of the “Transfiguration of Christ” on the mountain Tabor fifteen centuries before Renaissance artists such as Bellini and Raffaello. One of the earliest icons still in existence is that of a 4th century fresco in the Catacomb of Commodilla in Rome, depicting Christ as the Lamb of God blessing baskets of loaves. And of course one of the most famous depictions of Jesus Christ is Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper”. In all depictions of Jesus—whether in painting, sculpture, embroidery, photography and on film—the resemblance to the face on the Holy Shroud is remarkable.

Bearded Christ: located at the Catacomb ofComodilla in Rome, IV century.
Beato Angelico: Cristo Coronato di Spine,c. 1420
The Shroud has fascinated artists throughout the ages in the same way that it has fascinated theologians, historians and  Beato Angelico: Cristo Coronato di Spine, c. 1420 Bearded Christ: located at the Catacomb of Comodilla in Rome, IV century. scientists. The history of art is composed of unique styles at different times and adheres to the aesthetic truth of the day. That the language of art can be visibly  unambiguous means that the Shroud has played an important role in conserving the iconography of Jesus Christ over time. For centuries, from the time of Constantine the Great right up until today, regardless   of the strength of faith or the weakness of scientific methods, the Holy Shroud has always been the inspiring model for the representation of Christ.
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The artworks

During Easter celebrations in 2012, on Holy Thursday to be exact, Piraccini found herself in a unique position when she looked upon a life-size photographic scan of the Venerable Linen, which was delivered to her studio in Rome by Capuchin Monks. It was the culmination of a dream come true and a moment of great spiritual and artistic growth for this artist, who had always been fascinated by the Shroud of Turin from a very young age.

Originating from the most venerated and controversial religious icon in the world, between 2013 and 2014, Piraccini had realised a series a paintings in which truth and artifice, illumination and mystery, suffering and solace come together to reveal a path from hypothesis to revelation, be it historical, artistic or spiritual. Not surprisingly, in January 2015, Pope Francis bestowed his blessing on Piraccini’s works, assuring the artist an honoured place in a long tradition of sacred art.

Dall’Impronta di Gesu’

From the Imprint of Jesus

Chemical pigments, Imperceptible (invisible–visible) on herringbone linen canvas
4.63 x 0.97 metres, Rome 2013

“From the Imprint of Jesus” is of an approximate size as the Shroud of Turin, 4.41 x 1.13 metres. It was born from the transposition of pastel on tracing paper, which was reversed and recorded onto a herringbone linen canvas. The artist painted this canvas in mirror-like fashion to the Holy Shroud in order to have the body of Christ as it was in reality. Two primary colours were used—red to highlight the wounds from the crown of thorns, the nails in the hands and feet, and the lance to the side of Christ’s body, and blue to represent the scourges of his martyrdom. She calls these colours  “imperceptible” because they cannot be seen in natural light. Only with a change in light do the pigments appear and suddenly the full size image of the Shroud takes shape.

Il Mio Gesu’

My Jesus

Chemical pigments, Imperceptible (invisible–visible) on herringbone linen canvas
4.60 x 1.60 metres, Rome 2013

The tonality of “My Jesus” is very particular and was achieved by blending the “imperceptible” pigments with traditional oil paints to achieve a work without clear contours, as with the Holy Shroud. The idea was to create magnetic colours, colours that would attract the viewer, but with fine brushstrokes that intensify as the viewer gets closer and closer to the canvas. “My Jesus” is the same size and in the same direction as the actual Shroud of Turin, but not painted in mirror-like fashion as was the “From the Imprint of Jesus”, and is thus a representation of the Holy Shroud itself

La Trinita

The Trinity

Chemical pigments, Imperceptible (invisible–visible) on herringbone linen canvas
0.50 x 0.50 cm, Rome 2014

“The Trinity” is comprised of three superimposed linen sheets each bearing comparative images of the face of Christ.

It was created by the same method of transposing the shapes and details of the face on the Holy Shroud while also incorporating details of the face from “My Jesus” and “From the Imprint of Jesus”.

By superimposing one on top of the other, the artist has created an analogy of the Holy Shroud in a contemporary key, and especially because it represents the revelation of Christ as the one eternal divinity in the three forms of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

La Sacra Sindone
The Holy Shroud
Il Mio Gesú
My Jesus
Dall’impronta di Gesú
From the Imprint of Jesus
With a natural light - Imperceptible, Invisible
With an ultraviolet light - Visible

The Digital version of “The Trinity” - works signed by the Artist, numbered 1/100, measuring 0.50 x 0.50 cm, is an aggregate of the face from the Shroud of Turin (69%), the face from the painting From the imprint of Jesus (100%) and the face from the painting “My Jesus” (54%).

These works are numbered (1/100), signed by the artist, and available in Australia for purchase in its original size exclusively at The Holy Shroud Exhibition in Melbourne.

These images are comparisons of the detailsof the face of the Holy Shroudof Turin in natural light,with the faces of the two paintings “My Jesus” and “From the Imprint ofJesus” in negative black and white, and in colours as revealed by ultraviolet light.

La Resurrezione

The Resurrection

Chemical pigments, Imperceptible (invisible–visible) on cotton canvas
1.50 x 1.50 metres, Rome 2000

The theme of “The Resurrection” is tackled freely and with spiritual depth and anticipates by several years the arrival of the life-size photographic scan of Holy Shroud of Turin at the artist’s studio in Rome.

In this painting can be discerned the emergence of colours and shapes that the artist identified with the Holy Shroud, things both visible and invisible, and which eventually formed the fundamental pictorial evocations for the painting “From the Imprint of Jesus”.

Il Battesimo di Gesú Impercettibile

The Imperceptible Baptism of Jesus

Chemical pigments, Imperceptible (invisible–visible) on cotton canvas
1 x 0.70 metres, Rome 2009

The “Imperceptible” pigments, having properties of appearing and disappearing, gave birth to many other works including “The Imperceptible Baptism of Jesus”.

This painting addresses the theme of the iconography of Christ in an unconventional way, bringing together bodies, lines and tangles into the compositional setting. The perspective in this painting is reversed and indeed the figures are large or small according to a principle of hierarchical priority.

Grovigli dello Spirito

Entanglements of the Spirit

Chemical pigments, Imperceptible (invisible–visible) on cotton canvas
1.50 x 1 metres, Rome 2001

The artist believes that humanity today is disoriented: we are struggling to perform our true calling in a hyper-technological world and losing our interior and spiritual dimension.

The theme of this painting  is  about  illuminating the invisible within us through the light of life, and revealing the eternal mystery that animates life as the proper function of art. Unfettered by technology, art can nourish the spirit to have humanity re-dedicate itself to the task of perpetual renewal, bringing our inner and outer selves into balance.

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The Artist’s Techniques

On Holy Thursday, 5th April 2012, Veronica Piraccini received a life-size photographic scan of  the Holy Shroud of Turin from the Cultural Association of Caravita in Rome. From this scan the artist adopted an ancient technique used for faithfully reflecting or mirroring the sanctity of religious relics.

A notable example of mirroring is the 6th century painting of the Virgin Mary in Santa Francesca Romana at the Coliseum in Rome. It was created by contact with the painting of the Virgin May of Montevergine from Constantinople, resulting in one being specular to the other. This method was used to retain the sacredness and apotropic power of the original relic.

The life-size photo of the Holy Shroud of Turin with paintings by the Artist (above and right)
The artist's canvass
Antique Weaming Loom
The Holy Shroud fabric

Similarly, by using modern art pastels on transparent tracing paper, the artist reproduced exactly what is on the Holy Shroud by contact. This formed the basis of the three central artworks of this exhibition, “From the Imprint of Jesus”, “My Jesus” and “The Trinity”. The life-size photo of the Holy Shroud of Turin with paintings by the Artist.

For all three artworks the artist used what she calls “Imperceptible” pigments to create colours that are unique and cannot be duplicated, in particular hues of red, blue, bronze as well as a range of crepuscular colours. Unlike traditional oil paints for example, mixing the red and blue pigments will not produce purple, but a completely different colour to what is expected.

Discovered in the 1980s thanks to the artist’s physicist sister, Nadia Piraccini, these pigments are called “Imperceptible” because they can be made visible or invisible with a change of light. For Piraccini these pigments gave rise to a new way of painting that can illuminate endless shades and nuances in areas of human experience that are on the whole exceedingly subtle and complex.

Another important feature is the type of canvas on which “From the Imprint of Jesus”, “My Jesus” and “The Trinity” are painted. The canvasses for the three works come from Taranto in Italy and were made of pure herringbone linen cloth. These were hand- woven on a loom with a “Z” twist very similar to that of the Holy Shroud, and with a weaving technique that was used in ancient times and in places where Jesus had lived.

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Manager

Shanna Orn

Financial Director

Timothy Bailey

Manager

Jon Breitenberg

Designer

Bertrand Bergstrom

Account Director

Destini Hauck

Manager

Shanna Orn

The Artist

Veronica Piraccini is an artist and academic based in Rome. Her career began at the very young age of 23, teaching first at the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera, Milan, then at the Academy of Fine Arts in Palermo, and later at the Fine Arts Academy of Frosinone. She currently holds the Professorial Chair of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rome, the first woman to be appointed in that position.
Veronica in her studio in Rome
The Holy Pope Francis with Veronica Piraccini at the Vatican, 2015.

Veronica held her first solo exhibition in 1984  at Civitella S. Paolo in Rome at the Castle of Benedictine Monks. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including “Lo Sguardo da Lontano” exhibition, Galleria di Sarro, Rome 1993; “Prima del Poi” exhibition, Galleria Zonca, Milan 1997; Contemporary Art XXXI, Vasto 1998; VIInternational Art Triennial, Majdanek, Lubjana 2000;“Art and Research” exhibition, Fumagali Gallery,Bergamo 2003; Central State Archive “Artists in Archive” exhibition, Rome 2004; “The Earth Needs Men” exhibition, Royal  Palace of Caserta 2008; “Spring Argam” exhibition, Rome 2009; Academy of Arts and New Technologies, Rome 2010; “Che cento fiori sboccino” exhibition, La Nuova Pesa Gallery, Rome 2010; “Universes Without Borders” exhibition,    Porta    Ostiense    Museum 2010; “Grovigli” exhibition Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome, 2011; “Piligrim Painting”  exhibition  U.  Mastroianni Museum of Marino 2015; and the “Christ and the Cross” The Holy Pope Francis with Veronica Piraccini at the Vatican, 2015. exhibition, Studio S Gallery, Carmine Siniscalco, Rome 2017. Most recently, Veronica exhibited her works based on the Holy Shroud at the St. Louis Museum, USA; at the Saint Paul Religious Institute in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; at the Archdiocese of Bukavo, Congo; at the Archdiocese Kigawi, Ruanda; and at the museum of Dafen Village, Shenzhen, in the Guangdong Province of China.

The Artist with her paintings (invisible) of the Holy Shroud
Piraccini’s experiments and studies in art, particularly for the Holy Shroud of Turin, are far-reaching. During the 1980s, she collaborated with Professor Sebastiano Sciuti’s team in the Department of Physics at University of Rome La Sapienza for a study titled “Research Studies of the Non-invasive Methods on Works of Art”. In 2015, she was part of a research group at ENEA (National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development) of Frascati, for the “Multidisciplinary  Study  of  the Shroud of Arquata del Tronto (Extractum ab Originali)”. As an artist specialized in investigating colours and substances, she continues to collaborate with ENEA in experimental studies on the Holy Shroud of Turin.
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