[Above: "The Shroud face in fluorescent light" (Wilson, I., "The Evidence of the Shroud," Guild Publishing: London, 1986, pl.8), showing that while its bloodstains fluoresce, i.e. they were formed from real blood, the image does not fluoresce, showing it is not a thermal scorch.]
pressing the cloth against a heated sculpture?
There are at least eight problems of the theory that the Shroud's "image [was] burnt on by "pressing the cloth against a heated sculpture":
1) There is no evidence of such a method ever being used in the past (including Leonardo da Vinci's day) to produce images of anything on cloth, let alone the Shroud's. As historian Ian Wilson, after reviewing the "concept has been that, instead of a body, a lifesize statue or relief was employed," observed, "No amount of poring through the art of the Middle Ages reveals anyone who worked even remotely in this way" (my emphasis):
"Another popular concept has been that, instead of a body, a lifesize statue or relief was employed. ... But can it be sustained? It is, for instance, very surprising that some unknown artist, in addition to all his other cleverness, should have displayed the subtlety and depth of anatomical knowledge displayed on the Shroud. No amount of poring through the art of the Middle Ages reveals anyone who worked even remotely in this way." (Wilson, 1986, pp.66,68).
2) The sculpture itself, and multiple copies of the Shroud made from it, should still be in existence but they are not. Once such a statue was created, then Shroud copies could have been be churned out from it like from a printing press. But since "Shroud copies of this level of artistry would have demanded a king's ransom," then "Where is the statue or the bas-relief that the artist used?" (my emphasis):
"An artist who was good enough to create an image as impressive as the Shroud's would surely have made many copies of it. Shroud copies of this level of artistry would have demanded a king's ransom. Where is the statue or the bas-relief that the artist used? It would have graced the finest cathedral and become a famous image in its own right. And, to repeat a point made before, this artist would have had to have forged an image that, would not have been appreciated for hundreds of years after his death, until the invention of photography and other modern analytical techniques." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "Verdict on the Shroud: Evidence for the Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ," Servant Books: Ann Arbor MI, 1981, p.109).
3) Heat scorches like those caused by the 1532 fire which burnt holes in the Shroud, fluoresce under ultraviolet light but the Shroud's images do not fluoresce. That is, if the Shroud was created "by wrapping the cloth around a heated metal statue," the scorches would "fluoresce under ultraviolet light" as the "scorches from the 1532 fire indeed do" but "the Shroud's ... body image does not" (my emphasis):
"Another popular concept has been that, instead of a body, a lifesize statue or relief was employed. Prior to 1978 there was considerable interest in the Shroud body image's similarity to the scorches from the 1532 fire. It was theorized that someone in the Middle Ages had produced the Shroud's delicate gradations by wrapping the cloth around a heated metal statue, the linen receiving scorches proportionately more intense according to the cloth's distance from any one part of the hot statue. Cogent as this idea might seem, in the light of the 1978 testing it has attracted enthusiasm from neither the STURP team nor Dr. McCrone. According to STURP members, scorches fluoresce under ultraviolet light, and while the Shroud's scorches from the 1532 fire indeed do so, the body image does not." (Wilson, 1986, pp.66,68).
4) Scorches of linen placed over hot statues form on both sides of the cloth, unlike the Shroud's image which is only on one side. Experiments by STURP physicists "Eric Jumper and John Jackson found that an image produced by having "heated a bronze statue ... and thrown a piece of linen over it ... would also be present on the back of the cloth" (my emphasis):
"Eric Jumper, another Air Force physicist, thought that if the Shroud had been scorched, it would have to have been a very short burst of high energy radiation. He and John Jackson ran some experiments in which they scorched pieces of linen with lasers. Within a short time, an image appeared on the reverse side of the cloth almost as dark as the one on the front. Jumper thought that this ruled out any plausible forgery using a scorch. A forger could have heated a bronze statue or a flat plate and thrown a piece of linen over it, but the image this process produced would also be present on the back of the cloth. By contrast, their experiments showed that the radiation process would have to be very quick and very intense in order to scorch only the topmost layer of the linen fibers. [Jumper, E., "Considerations of Molecular Diffusion and Radiation as an Image Formation Process on the Shroud," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference on the Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, 1977, p.187]" (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.71-72).
But the Shroud's "`... body' image areas are superficial in the extreme, lying only on the very top of the Shroud threads" (my emphasis):
"As Dr Adler continues to argue, [Adler, A.D., "The Shroud Fabric and the Body Image: Chemical and Physical Characteristics', International Scientific Symposium, "The Turin Shroud, past, present and future," Villa Gualino, Turin, 2-5 March 2000] in the wake of Heller's death and having been granted a relatively recent direct viewing of the cloth to facilitate conservation recommendations, `the body' image areas are superficial in the extreme, lying only on the very top of the Shroud threads. They do not penetrate the cloth, nor do they exhibit any capillarity or absorptive properties. They are more brittle than their non-image counterparts, as if whatever formed them corroded them. They are uniform in coloration, they are not cemented together, neither are they `diffused' as they would be if they derived from some dye or stain. They do not `fluoresce' or reflect back any light. Most emphatically, they are not made by pigment contact." (Wilson, I. & Schwortz, B., "The Turin Shroud: The Illustrated Evidence," Michael O'Mara: London, 2000, p.74)
5) Such scorches on linen placed over a heated statue have "hot spots" where the linen touched the statue, but the Shroud has no such "hot spots":
"Another objection to the hot statue method lies in the inevitable creation of `hot spots' or well-defined regions of enhanced image density at points where the statue touched the cloth. Such spots would necessarily result from thermal conduction, [Schwalbe, L.A. & Rogers, R.N., "Physics and Chemistry of the Shroud of Turin," Analytica Chimica Acta, Vol. 135, 1982, pp.3-49, p.28] yet no such regions are present on the Shroud body image. ... the entire image contains the same density of coloration." (Antonacci, M., "Resurrection of the Shroud: New Scientific, Medical, and Archeological Evidence," M. Evans & Co: New York NY, 2000, p.79)
6) Scorches on linen placed over hot statues are not three-dimensional, unlike the Shroud's image which is:
"John Jackson pointed out another problem with various theories of image formation. Employing sophisticated mathematical analysis, he showed that no reasonable physical mechanism could produce an image which was both three-dimensional and highly detailed. To achieve clarity, three-dimensionality had to be sacrificed. To produce an image that contained three dimensional data, the image would not have been as detailed as the Shroud image is. Jackson thought his findings made it unlikely that the Shroud image was formed by some natural process involving diffusion of chemicals. He also said that no simple scorch caused by exposing the cloth to thermal radiation could not have produced a clear three-dimensional image either. However, Jackson said a scorch was still a possible explanation for the image because it could have been caused in some way other than by thermal radiation. [Jackson, J., "Problem of Resolution Posed by the Existence of a Three-Dimensional Image on the Shroud," in Stevenson, 1977, pp. 223-33]" (Stevenson,& Habermas, 1981, p.72. Emphasis original).
Indeed, Jackson showed mathematically in 1982, that "the three-dimensional effect is the Waterloo for all artistic theories" including those that posit "hot statues or hot bas-reliefs" (my emphasis):
"But as Dr. Jackson demonstrated, the Shroud image is three-dimensionally `consistent with a body shape covered with a naturally draping cloth and which can be derived from a single, global mapping function relating image shading with distance between these two surfaces.' [Jackson, J.P. & Ercoline, W.R., "The Three-Dimensional Characteristics of the Shroud Image," IEEE 1982 Proceedings of the International Conference on Cybernetics and Society, October 1982, p.573] In short, though none of the Shroud opponents would willingly concede this point, the three-dimensional effect is the Waterloo for all artistic theories. That same effect has been scientifically demonstrated and subjected to the best peer review. And it still stands. Also, this same characteristic proves to be the acid test for all the image formation theories Dr. Jackson tried regardless of how well they met or failed to meet the other known Shroud image characteristics. A catalog of ruled-out theories includes the following: direct contact, diffusion, lab-induced radiation from a body shape, engraving, powdered bas-reliefs, electrostatic imaging, phosphorescent statues, hot statues or hot bas-reliefs." (Stevenson, K.E. & Habermas, G.R., "The Shroud and the Controversy," Thomas Nelson: Nashville TN, 1990, pp.32-33).
The reason is that "A hot statue would produce ... heat [that] radiates the same in all directions" and "This type of uniform radiation could not produce the subtle cloth-drape distortions found on the Shroud" but "would ... produce a blurred image." Also, the "blood and serum marks also could not be reproduced with a draped hot statue" but "would undergo thermal degradation as a result of their contact with a hot surface" (my emphasis):
"Hot Statue Method Just as the heated bas-relief method cannot account for all the Shroud image characteristics, neither can the hot statue technique, which involves laying cloth over a full-size three-dimensional hot statue. A hot statue would produce an isotropic radiation source, which means the heat radiates the same in all directions. This type of uniform radiation could not produce the subtle cloth-drape distortions found on the Shroud because the distance information encoded onto the cloth would not be transferred along vertical, straight-line paths; [Jackson, J., "A Problem of Resolution Posed By The Existence of a Three Dimensional Image on the Shroud," in Stevenson, K.E., ed., "Proceedings of the 1977 United States Conference of Research on The Shroud of Turin," Holy Shroud Guild: Bronx NY, 1977, pp.223-233] instead, the heat would travel in all directions and produce a blurred image. Thus the three-dimensional shading and high resolution of the Shroud image could not be encoded simultaneously if this image-forming method were used. [Jackson, personal communication, February 1, 1988] Furthermore, the hot statue technique would scorch the image into multiple layers of the linen's threads, which means the image could not be superficial and confined to only the topmost fibrils of the cloth. [Jumper, E.J., "Considerations of Molecular Diffusion and Radiation as an Image Formation Process on the Shroud," in Stevenson, Ibid., pp.182-188]." (Antonacci, 2000, pp.78-79. Emphasis original).
7) Since the blood was on the cloth before the image was formed, contact with a hot statue would thermally degrade it, but the Shroud's blood is not. But, "If the images were there before the blood, and if we removed the blood, we could expect to see straw-yellow image fibers," however "When all the blood and protein were gone, the underlying fibrils were not straw-yellow; they were ordinary background fibrils" (my emphasis):
"Our hypothetical artist obviously must have used blood - both pre-mortem and post-mortem. And he had to paint with serum albumin alongside the edges of the scourge marks. Since serum albumin is visible only under ultraviolet, not white light, he had to paint with an invisible medium. If an artist had painted the Shroud, the blood must have been put on after the images. We decided to check that point. We took some blood- and serum-covered fibrils from a body image area. If the images were there before the blood, and if we removed the blood, we could expect to see straw-yellow image fibers. We prepared a mixture of enzymes that digest blood and its proteins. When all the blood and protein were gone, the underlying fibrils were not straw-yellow; they were ordinary background fibrils. This was strong evidence that the blood had gone on before the images. It suggested that blood had protected the linen from the image-making process. Surely this was a weird way to paint a picture." (Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 1983, pp.202-203).
This was confirmed by "Microscopic and ultraviolet examinations of the Shroud" which indicated "that the blood images were transferred to the cloth before the body image." Therefore, "If the body image were encoded through contact with a hot surface, thermal discoloration or degradation of bloodied fibrils would be evident" but "Microscopic study of the bloodstains on the Shroud ... reveals no thermal discoloration" of the image (my emphasis):
"Microscopic and ultraviolet examinations of the Shroud indicate that the blood images were transferred to the cloth before the body image. [Jumper, E.J., et al., "A Comprehensive Examination of the Various Stains and Images on the Shroud of Turin," in Lambert, J.B., ed., "Archaeological Chemistry, III," American Chemical Society: Washington DC, 1984, pp.447-476 & Jackson, J.P., et al., "Three Dimensional Characteristics of the Shroud Image," IEEE 1982 Proceedings of the International Conference on Cybernetics and Society, October 1982, pp.559-575] If the body image were encoded through contact with a hot surface, thermal discoloration or degradation of bloodied fibrils would be evident because the blood images would have been in direct contact with the bas-relief heated to temperatures high enough to scorch linen. Indeed, this effect appeared in the experimental testing of this technique [Jackson, Ibid.]. Microscopic study of the bloodstains on the Shroud, however, reveals no thermal discoloration or fusing (except in areas where the fire marks of 1532 intersected bloodstains). Furthermore, a heated bas-relief could not produce the many other aforementioned unique features of the blood on the Shroud." (Antonacci, 2000, p.79).
8) All attempts to produce a realistic copy of the Shroud by pressing a cloth against a heated sculpture have failed. Indeed "every attempt to experimentally create an acceptable image by the use of direct contact between a body or statue has failed," one reason being that it has been found by that method to be "impossible to create an acceptable impression of a three-dimensional object," which the Shroud is (see above), "on a two-dimensional surface" (my emphasis):
"Furthermore, every attempt to experimentally create an acceptable image by the use of direct contact between a body or statue has failed. It seemed to be impossible to create an acceptable impression of a three-dimensional object on a two-dimensional surface." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, p.69).
And in fact no "artist or forger has ever created an image showing all the characteristics of the image of the man of the Shroud," "even with the aid of modern technology," since "none of them are three-dimensional, superficial" (confined to the topmost surface fibrils)" and "non-directional" which the Shroud is (my emphasis):
"The basic fact remains: neither Joe Nickell nor any other artist or forger has ever created an image showing all the characteristics of the image of the man of the Shroud. For example, none of them are three-dimensional, superficial, or non-directional. Photographers claim that it is impossible to fake such a delicate image photographically. One cited by Wilcox wrote, `I've been involved in the invention of many complicated processes, and I can tell you that no one could have faked that image. No one could do it today with all the technology we have. It's a perfect negative. It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise.' [Leo Vala in Wilcox, R.K., "Shroud," 1977, pp.130-131] In recent years a skeptical artist and photographer from Great Britain set out to deliberately duplicate the Shroud image using modern photographic techniques. He was convinced at the outset that the Turin cloth was a hoax. In the end, although his results were good enough to be used in the movie, `The Silent Witness,' his image is vastly inferior to the original. He concluded that it was virtually impossible for a human to have forged the Shroud image. In fact, the Shroud has never been successfully duplicated even with the aid of modern technology, despite some valiant attempts. In summary, it is virtually impossible that the Shroud image can be a forgery. ... The scientific testing of the Shroud uncovered no evidence for forgery. The technical demands of such a forgery appear far beyond the capabilities of a medieval artist, and modern-day attempts to duplicate the Shroud image have all failed." (Stevenson & Habermas, 1981, pp.109-110).
After "a comprehensive review of the comparative plausibility of every conceivable variety of image-forming process" by "Drs. Jackson and Jumper" they found that "although images were produced ... these fell far short of the photographic realism of the Shroud" (my emphasis):
"Back in 1978, arising from firsthand observations of the Shroud body image's similarity to some of the scorches from the 1532 fire, there was much discussion that the image might have been created by a scorch, perhaps from some searing flash of light at the very moment of Jesus' Resurrection. During the 1970s, an English author, Geoffrey Ashe, had created Shroud-like scorch pictures by applying a heated brass ornament to damp linen. But, as established by the 1978 ultraviolet fluorescence photography, there is a marked qualitative difference between the body image and the scorches. The 1532 fire scorches fluoresce red when irradiated with ultraviolet light, whereas the body images do not. ... Attempts to simulate some aspects of such a process have been made by Drs. Jackson and Jumper and colleagues in a comprehensive review of the comparative plausibility of every conceivable variety of image-forming process. But although images were produced, as in so many other experiments, these fell far short of the photographic realism of the Shroud." (Wilson, 1986, pp.125-126)
However, even if "back in the fourteenth century" some "mediaeval sculptor" created "a life-size, anatomically convincing ... statue of ... Jesus, made in metal, that someone managed to heat to just the right temperature and manipulate so that a fourteen-foot length of linen could be wrapped all round it," "he would then have had to paint in the wounds ... in the mode of bloodclot transfers - so realistically that they fooled dozens of twentieth-century doctors and pathologists." (as well as master time-travel to plant "the evidence we have seen for the existence of something like our Shroud well before the Middle Ages") (my emphasis)!:
"But while we are still considering the Shroud as the work of an artist, we should also take account of the idea that rather than using a paintbrush the mediaeval faker may cleverly have deployed some life-sized statue of Jesus in a manner so as to transfer its image to a piece of linen. Professor Hall, while generally shunning taking a serious interest in how the Shroud's image might have been made, told me during our July 1988 meeting in Oxford that the one idea he did favour was this so-called `hot statue' theory. The simple principle behind this is that a forger heated a metal statue of Jesus, then quickly wrapped a length of plain linen around it, thereby scorching the `body' image onto it rather in the manner of a branding iron. It is an idea that has circulated for some while, having been demonstrated as early as the 1970s by the English author Geoffrey Ashe [Ashe, G., "What Sort of Picture," Sindon, 1966, pp.15-19], who for his 'statue' simply heated a brass ornament (one used to decorate the trappings of horses) and applied it to a piece of linen he had dampened. Even though the effect, home-spun as it was, was far from totally convincing, it was actually rather more Shroud-like than anything we have seen from either McCrone or Craig and Bresee. Even so the `hot statue' theory suffers from the serious problem that it demands the existence, back in the fourteenth century, of a life-size, anatomically convincing and totally nude statue of a recumbent Jesus, made in metal, that someone managed to heat to just the right temperature and manipulate so that a fourteen-foot length of linen could be wrapped all round it. ... None the less even if we could accept that a mediaeval sculptor had created such a statue, in doing so he would then have had to paint in the wounds not with whole blood, but in the mode of bloodclot transfers -so realistically that they fooled dozens of twentieth-century doctors and pathologists. And this is aside from all his other accuracies and the evidence we have seen for the existence of something like our Shroud well before the Middle Ages. Further contradicting any such `scorch' theory is the fact that the STURP team's ultraviolet fluorescence photography of 1978 revealed that whereas the cloth's scorches from the 1532 fire fluoresce red when irradiated with ultraviolet light, the body images do not. This argues strongly against the Shroud's body image having been created in some conventional scorch-like manner." (Wilson, I., "The Blood and the Shroud: New Evidence that the World's Most Sacred Relic is Real," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1998, pp.203-204. Emphasis original).
And anyway Leonardo da Vinci was not as great a sculptor as he was a painter, with "A small group of generals' heads in marble and plaster ... linked with Leonardo" but of "inferior quality" and "two great sculptural projects ... not realized" (my emphasis):
"Leonardo worked as a sculptor from his youth on, as shown in his own statements and those of other sources. A small group of generals' heads in marble and plaster, works of Verrocchio's followers, are sometimes linked with Leonardo because a lovely drawing attributed to him that is on the same theme suggests such a connection. But the inferior quality of this group of sculpture rules out an attribution to the master. No trace has remained of the heads of women and children that, according to Vasari, Leonardo modeled in clay in his youth. The two great sculptural projects to which Leonardo devoted himself wholeheartedly were not realized ... " (Heydenreich, L.H., "Leonardo da Vinci: Sculpture," Encyclopaedia Britannica Online. Accessed 4 July 2007).
Continued in part #5.
Posted: 21 July 2007. Updated: 14 February 2016.
"If I had known Stewart would need a profile of the man in the shroud, I would have brought along the photographs made by Leo Vala, a photographer of British royalty and a pioneer in the development of the 3D visual process and cinemascope movie screens. By manipulating light through photo transparencies, he produced an image on a normal screen that enabled sculptors to make a three-dimensional model which could then be photographed in profile or indeed from any other angle. In perfecting the process Vala had selected the shroud face as a subject `because it's such a beautiful image.' After publishing the results of his experimentation in the March 8, 1967 issue of Amateur Photographer, he became an outspoken critic of anyone who thought the image could have been produced by human hands either through artistry or technology. `I've been involved in the invention of many complicated visual processes, and I can tell you that no one could have faked that image. No one could do it today with all the technology we have. It's a perfect negative. It has a photographic quality that is extremely precise.'" (Wilcox, R.K., "Shroud," Macmillan: New York NY, 1977, pp.130-131)