Turin Shroud Is Art, Not Relic: Book

Art historian says he has spotted artist Giotto's signature

By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 8, 2011 2:44 AM CDT

(Newser) – The "miraculous" Shroud of Turin is not the actual burial cloth that covered Christ's body, but is merely the work of a Renaissance artist. That's the claim in an explosive new Italian book. Many Catholics believe the shroud shows a mysterious, miraculous image of Christ's body, and experts have struggled for years to prove once and for all that the cloth is either authentic or a clever historical fake. But an art historian now claims that early Italian artist Giotto created the image on the cloth, reports the Telegraph. Luciano Buso says he has spotted the artist's signature on the cloth and the number 15, a reference to 1315, the year Buso says Giotto was commissioned to create the "shroud."

The original shroud disintegrated after years of being hauled around Christendom, argues Buso. The Shroud of Turin has been dated to medieval times, but some recent, controversial findings have indicated the body image is a forgery. The director of the Shroud of Turin museum scoffed at Buso's claims and at his insistence that he has spotted the artist's signature. "First, tests have shown that the shroud is not a painting," said Prof. Bruno Barberis. "Secondly, there's a long list of scholars who have seen all sorts of things that don't exist" in the shroud. "It's like looking at the moon and thinking you can see eyes, a nose and a mouth."

The Christ-like image of a man can be seen on the Vatican's Shroud of Turin.   (AP)
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