[Above: Microscope close-up of Shroud linen fibres showing superficiality of the image (the golden-brown colour on some fibrils, i.e. threads in a fibre): Sindonology: Photomicrographs. For an artist to have painted the Shroud, he would have to be able to paint individual flax fibrils which are 1/100th the thickness of a human hair!]
very sophisticated technique? No. Even Professors Edward Hall and Michael Tite (who were leaders in the 1988 radiocarbon dating of the Shroud of Turin as being 14th century), and despite Prof. Hall then claiming in 1989 that "Someone just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it", both privately admitted to Ian Wilson in July 1988 (after the tests had all been completed but before they were published) that the Shroud was "very unlikely to be a painting" and "unconvinced by the McCrone mediaeval-painter hypothesis," respectively (my emphasis):
"When in early July 1988 I visited Professor Edward Hall at the Oxford laboratory, he told me that although his recent trip to Turin had not persuaded him of the Shroud's genuineness, even so, having taken the opportunity to examine its imprint carefully with a hand lens, he thought it very unlikely to be a painting. On hearing this, I quizzed him why he did not accept McCrone's findings and he told me very candidly that he was totally unimpressed by McCrone as a scientist and thought he relied far too much on subjective visual assessments from looking through a conventional microscope. Likewise, Dr Michael Tite expressed himself unconvinced by the McCrone mediaeval-painter hypothesis, inclining instead to the view that the Shroud had been made, albeit in the fourteenth century, by someone who used a genuinely crucified human body for his purpose." (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.198-199).
As Christian theologian Gary Habermas summarising the evidence against the painting hypothesis pointed out: 1) "There is no paint, dye, powder, or other foreign substance on the image fibrils;" 2) "Paintings do not produce a 3-D effect, but the shroud image is 3-D"; 3) "the shroud image is superficial, which means that it is only on the top few fibrils of the affected threads"; 4) "It does not even soak to the back threads, let alone to the back of the cloth"; 5) "there are no plateaus or saturation points on the shroud image"; 6) "the shroud image is nondirectional"; 7) 'there is no capillary flow on the shroud"; and "the 1532 fire ... would have caused chemical changes in organic pigments, but there are no changes in the shroud" (my emphasis):
"We do not have to know how somebody could have painted it, but science is adept at finding paint when it is present. ... There is no paint, dye, powder, or other foreign substance on the image fibrils that could account for the image. Microchemical analyses revealed no paints or pigments. ... Paintings do not produce a 3-D effect, but the shroud image is 3-D. ... In addition, the shroud image is superficial, which means that it is only on the top few fibrils of the affected threads. Each thread has about 200 fibrils, and the image is on the top few fibrils only. It does not even soak to the back threads, let alone to the back of the cloth. Paint is not superficial, and reproducing the shroud has not been possible in the laboratory. Further, there are no plateaus or saturation points on the shroud image. But if you apply any pigment or dye there will naturally be saturation points. Still further, the shroud image is nondirectional. Now if one is going to put paint on a cloth, one moves the hand from side to side. When one gets tired, one often starts moving the hand up and down. But even if one only moves from side to side all of the time, that is directionality. One cannot generally apply paint without directionality. If one uses a spray gun it still involves directionality. But there is no directionality on the shroud image. Also, there is no capillary flow on the shroud, which rules out any liquid movement. In addition, the 1532 fire that the shroud was involved in would have caused chemical changes in organic pigments, but there are no changes in the shroud. Further, the water applied to the shroud to put out the 1532 fire would usually cause chemical changes, but there are no such changes observed on the shroud. .... A 1982 report from a team of scientists, released at a New London, Connecticut, meeting, states that, `No pigments, paints, dyes or stains have been found in the fibrils.' So again, we could falsify the shroud if there was paint. But they have not found any. Now maybe they will find some in the future. I am open to that, but right now that is a weak hypothesis. .... The shroud image does not appear to be painted at all." (Habermas, G.R., "Discussion," in Miethe, T.L., ed., "Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?: The Resurrection Debate," Harper & Row: San Francisco CA, 1987, p.119).
Every method suggested points to the fact that the artist would have needed unique talents, and the film demonstrates that these talents were exhibited by one individual: Leonardo da Vinci - inventor, visionary, scientist, anatomist, artist and heretic.
As for "artist," even Leonardo da Vinci could not have painted the Shroud of Turin, because (apart from the Shroud having a documented European history from 1357) and requiring amongst other things (like "a microscope ... attached to a ... color TV" set!), he would have needed "a paintbrush one to two meters long" that "consisted of a single bristle, since it painted single fibrils that were 10 to 15 microns in diameter" (a micron is one thousandth of a millimetre):
"With all this in mind, Adler and I began a gedankenexperiment to see what would be required of an artist. As mentioned earlier, you cannot see the man in the Shroud unless you are one or two meters away. An artist cannot paint if he cannot see what effect his brush is producing. Our putative artist, then, must have had a paintbrush one to two meters long. It must have consisted of a single bristle, since it painted single fibrils that were 10 to 15 microns in diameter. The finest paintbrush bristles I know of are sable, and a sable hair is vast in diameter compared with a linen fibril. In addition, the artist would have had to figure out a paint medium that had no oil or water, because there were no indications of capillarity. Now, to see what he was painting he would have needed a microscope with an enormous focal length that would permit the brush to operate under it. The physics of optics preclude such a device, unless it is attached to a television set. In this case, it would have had to be a color TV, for the straw-yellow is too faint to register on black and white. Another constraint the artist must have-dealt with is the limit of the human nervous system. No one can hold so long a brush steady enough to paint the top of a fibril. One would need a twentieth-century micromanipulator, which would have to work hydraulically at a distance of one to two meters. It would have to be rigged to a device called a waldo, which is an invention of the atomic era. Also, the artist would have to know how many fibrils to paint quantitatively, and do the whole thing in reverse, like a negative." (Heller, J.H., "Report on the Shroud of Turin," Houghton Mifflin Co: Boston MA, 1983, p.202).
Not only that but the "hypothetical artist" (including da Vinci) would have "had to paint with serum albumin alongside the edges of the scourge marks" but "Since serum albumin is visible only under ultraviolet" he would have "had to paint with an invisible medium"! (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, 1983, pp.202-203)
And there is no evidence that "Leonardo's" was a "heretic. " According to his near-contemporary, painter-architect Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574), Leonardo died a Christian:
""Finally, in his old age Leonardo lay sick for several months, and feeling that he was near to death he earnestly resolved to learn about the doctrines of the Catholic faith and of the good and holy Christian religion. Then, lamenting bitterly, he confessed and repented, and, although he could not stand up, supported by his friends and servants he received the Blessed Sacrament from his bed. He was joined by the king, who often used to pay him affectionate visits, and having respectfully raised himself in his bed he told the king about his illness and what had caused it, and he protested that he had offended God and mankind by not working at his art as he should have done. Then he was seized by a paroxysm, the forerunner of death, and, to show him favour and to soothe his pain, the king held his head. Conscious of the great honour being done to him, the inspired Leonardo breathed his last in the arms of the king; he was then seventy-five years old." (Vasari, G., "The Lives of the Artists," Volume I, Penguin: Harmondsworth UK, 1971, p.270) .
Indeed, it would be a strange (to put it mildly) for a "heretic" to create such a realistic depiction of Christ's crucifixion that many thousands (perhaps even millions) down through the centuries have either become Christians, or had their Christian faith strengthened, through it!
Leonardo had not only the means to create the Shroud, he also had the motive. This is false on both counts. First, as we have seen, Leonard da Vinci did not have "the means to create the Shroud." What the French biologists and artist Paul Vignon stated in 1937 still applies, "Even today no artist can paint so exact a negative," let alone in the 15th century when "the idea of a negative became known only through the invention of photography in the 19th Century" and even then "No artist, in fact, has yet succeeded in making an exact copy of the negative figures on the Shroud, though competent artists have made the attempt" (my emphasis):
"The figures on the Shroud, in fact, are not paintings at all. As already stated, they are negative images; and the idea of a negative became known only through the invention of photography in the 19th Century. No artist of any earlier period, therefore, (certainly none of the 14th Century and, above all, none before the 5th), could have conceived the idea of painting a negative. The figures, moreover, are very exact negatives. When they are photographed, they appear on the film with the natural proportions of a full-grown man, with a true perspective, with a noble, impressive countenance, and with a minute fidelity to nature even in minor details. Each one of these points involves principles of science and of art which were unknown or poorly grasped until comparatively modern times. It is hard , enough to carry out these principles in an ordinary positive painting, in which the lights and shades have their normal values. On the Shroud, they are perfectly illustrated with the lights and shades reversed, though it takes a photograph to reveal the fact. Even today no artist can paint so exact a negative. No artist, in fact, has yet succeeded in making an exact copy of the negative figures on the Shroud, though competent artists have made the attempt." (Vignon, P., "The problem of the Holy Shroud," Scientific American, Vol. 156, 1937, pp.162-164, p.162)
Second, da Vinci did not have the "motive" to create the Shroud (i.e. a Mk. II improving on the existing or previous Mk. I). Why would he, if he was a "heretic," create a better Shroud that would only help Christianity?
His was a life of facing challenges, of discovering the unknown, of pushing the boundaries and of devising riddles and practical jokes. There is a difference between "pushing the boundaries" and "practical jokes" and committing major art fraud (what Shroud sceptic David Sox called in the sub-title of his 1988 book, "The Shroud Unmasked," "the Greatest Forgery of All Time") of the holiest of all Church relics, which in 15th century Italy the penalty would probably be death (with or without torture). One would not need a genius IQ as Leonardo had to realise that it would only take one member of the House of Savoy (or even an accountant or servant) who knew that Shroud Mk. II was not Shroud Mk. I, and that Leonardo had faked it (and indeed the claim is that only Leonardo could have faked it) and at best his reputation would be ruined and at worst he would be executed.
He also despised the excesses of the Catholic church - though he moved among the upper reaches of its hierarchy. No doubt this is true, but Leonardo would realise that there was a difference between the corrupt medieval institutional Church and Christianity itself. An again, it is a strange way of showing one one's despising of "the excesses of the Catholic church" by creating a better Shroud of Turin that could only help that church!
Indeed, he was close to the Pope himself, through whom he was familiar with the Savoy royal family. Whether or not Leonardo was "close to the Pope," (presumably Innocent VIII - 1484 to 1492 is meant), there is no need to dispute it. It depends on what is meant by "familiar." No doubt Leonardo knew about "the Savoy royal family," but there is no evidence that he had anything to do with them, let alone conspired with it to create a major art fraud. In the three biographies of Leonardo that I was able to find in Perth City's public library, namely: Kemp, M., "Leonardo da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man" (Oxford, 1981); Turner, R.A., "Inventing Leonardo" (Knopf, 1993) and Nicholl, C., "Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind" (Viking, 2004) there is not even an entry for "Savoy" in their indexes!
And it was the Savoys who, significantly, owned the Shroud at the time a Papal blessing gave it its aura of authenticity. Well, since the Savoys owned the Shroud from 1453 (i.e. the year after Leonardo was born) until 1983 (when ex King Umberto II of Savoy died) , it is of no significance in respect of Leonardo, since it was when Leonardo was 15 that the Shroud received its first "Papal blessing" when "In 1467, Paul II " "authorized ... Amedeo IX ... the son of Duke Louis I, who had received the Shroud in 1452 from Margaret De Charny" to "erect a Church ... for the preservation of" the Shroud (although that was not mentioned explicitly)
Leonardo: The Man behind the Shroud, captures the wonder that the shroud holds, and the mastery of Leonardo. No, it doesn't! As I have shown in this part #5 and previous parts #1, #2, #3 & #4, there is no evidence at all that Leonardo da Vinci committed, what would in fact be major art fraud, to forge the Shroud of Turin. As I said in a previous comment, for once I agree with Shroud sceptic Joe Nickell that "the claim that Leonardo had created the Shroud of Turin, even though the shroud appeared a century before [his] ... birth" was "a ... foray into nonsense" (my emphasis)!:
"Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince, had made a previous foray into nonsense (1994) with the claim that Leonardo had created the Shroud of Turin, even though the shroud appeared a century before the birth of Leonardo (1452-1519). The duo believe the image on the cloth ... was produced for two reasons. It represented both `an innovative technique' (Leonardo, they suggest, invented photography to create the image!) and `an encoded heretical belief' (he supposedly faked blood on the image as still flowing so as to indicate that Jesus did not die on the cross) (Picknett and Prince 1998, 25, 289)." (Nickell, J., "Deciphering Da Vinci's Real Codes," Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 2007).
But what the claim does show is that if the Shroud was a forgery it would have required an artist at least as skilful as Leonardo da Vinci (and in fact more skilled-see above), and not just an unknown "Someone" who in "the 14th century ... just got a bit of linen, faked it up and flogged it" as would have to have been the case if the 1988 radiocarbon dating of 1260-1390 AD was true.
Indeed, as Ian Wilson pointed out (see `tagline' quote below), what all these mutually exclusive theories of the creation of the Shroud (including that "Leonardo" da Vinci was "The Man Behind the Shroud") in the ~14-15th centuries show, is that "if anyone had come up with a convincing solution as to how and by whom the Shroud was forged, they would inevitably have created a consensus around which everyone sceptical on the matter would rally" but "so far this has not even begun to happen" (my emphasis)!
"So what are we to make of the Shroud mystery? Surely, despite all the arguments advanced earlier in this book, we are too rationalist to accept belief in miracles? Surely we ought to be able to cast the Shroud from our minds as too good to be true, as something that simply must have been forged? Surely the `safe', sensible, rational option must be to accept the verdict of the three radiocarbon-dating laboratories that some cunning forger simply faked the Shroud's image some time between 1260 and 1390? Mustn't it? After some thirty years of actively grappling with the subject I almost envy this position .... As for the fundamental questions for anyone adopting the forgery hypothesis - for example: `Who forged such an extraordinary image?' 'How did he do so without betraying any obvious sign of his artifice?' 'How did he manage to get so much right medically, historically and culturally?' - if you ask yourself whether Sox, or any of the other current detractors, from McCrone and Hall to Picknett and Prince, has yet offered any genuinely satisfying answers, the response has to be no. Indeed, if anyone had come up with a convincing solution as to how and by whom the Shroud was forged, they would inevitably have created a consensus around which everyone sceptical on the matter would rally. Yet so far this has not even begun to happen." (Wilson, 1998, pp.234-235. Emphasis original)
Updated: 18 June 2015.