The origin of the Shroud is still a mystery. But despite all attempts to recreate it, Professor Nello Balossino says the figure on the cloth is a bit like a negative but with additional three dimensional information and so far no one has been able to replicate it
andrea tornielli Taken from VAtican Insider
rome The spotlight is back on the Turin Shroud ahead of the next Ostension, which Pope Francis will be attending along with all the other pilgrims. The Shroud is considered one of the most important icons or relics of Jesus’ Passion. While the history of the cloth remains shrouded in mystery and lacks watertight testimonies that can vouch for its existence before the Medieval period, the formation of the image on the Shroud remains unexplainable: So far, no one has succeeded in producing a satisfactory replica of it. As Nello Balossino, a Professor at the University of Turin and an expert on the Shroud explained to Vatican Insider, the Shroud contains “three dimensional information” within it.
It has often been said that the image on the Shroud resembles a photographic negative. Is this true?
“In terms of formation, an image is created through the interaction of light energy coming from a setting through the acquisition system. But it is only the light intensity that is recorded, not the phase in which the depth is codified: a photographic negative does not therefore possess three-dimensional information. The image on the Shroud behaves like a negative in as far as the inverting chiaroscuro and special dimension are concerned but it is not a negative in terms of photographic acceptation. The Shroud image contains evident reddish chromatic nuances which form a body in terms of the morphometry: this is the three-dimensional content. By inverting the intensity and specularity we can get a real-life view of the figure, preserving the elevation aspect.”
So the Shroud behaves like a special kind of photographic negative…
“As I said, an ordinary photographic negative does not reproduce three-dimensional information. The image on the Shroud contains this information, which is codified in a series of nuances. In other words, what we have before us is an image formed through a three-dimensional process, which cannot yet be explained and simulated in practice in order to obtain replica images of the Shroud. The difference in tonality between the light and dark elements of the image is so low that the eye is only able to perceive the general features of a human face, but the details are not easy to make out. In fact the light distribution on the face depicted in the image is exactly the opposite to what we perceive in reality, with protruding elements appearing darker than the hollows of the face. The inversion process presents the face of a man from a real-life perspective.”
What would need to be done in order to replicate it?
“I have examined the various attempts through the use of different techniques to reproduce the Tutrin Shroud. In none of these cases did the images last in time or contain the three-dimensional information contained in the Shroud and the features that are unique to the image such as the superficiality in the chromatic variation of the cloth fibres and their integrity. These details certainly make it harder to justify the explanation according to which the Shroud image is a medieval forgery.