Wooden bas-relief of st. veronica holding her veil on which was printed the christ’s face
Origin : italy
Period : 14th century
Height : 44 cm
Width : 42 cm
Depth : 9 cm
St. Veronica appears in the scene of Christ carrying the Cross, on the way to Calvary, amongst the Holy Women.
Seized with compassion when seeing the face of the Saviour dripping with sweat and blood, she wipes His face with a veil on which the features of Christ remained miraculously printed.
Actually, Veronica is the personification of this vera icona the true image of the Savior, printed on a fabric.
To explain that she had a veil at this precious moment, The Mysteries makes her a fabric’s dealer.
After the Crucifixion she would have followed in Gaul St. Amateur or Amadour, identified with Zaché and have married him: she would have built an hermitage in the dunes from Soulac to the tip of the Medoc peninsula, where her relics preserved in the church Notre Dame de la fin des terres, attracted many pilgrims.
It was believed that anyone who had watched this image would be, for the day, protected from a violent death. Thus Saint Veronica enjoyed the privilege of being invoked as St. Christopher or St. barbara, against the danger of sudden death.
Actually, her iconography was at its peak in the late Middle Ages and continues to depleted after the Council of Trent.
Under the influence of the staging of Mysteries, she is represented at that time, in the guise of a matron wearing a turban, in allusion to her alleged Syrian origins.
She extends with her two hands, in front of her chest, a transparent veil of fine linen on which is printed the face of the Savior, generally painted in brown color because people were used to see her that way on Byzantine icons, blackened by time or by the smoke of candles.
On this bas-relief, St. Veronica wears a veil that disappears under her coat which has many folds covering the shoulders. She holds the veil with her extended arms.
But instead of a printed image, here it is by a true high-relief sculpture that the Christ’s face is represented.
This face is surrounded by long, very soft hair. He wears a mustache and beard arround his narrow mouth with full lips. The crown of thorns is replaced by a braid and the expression of his gaze rather that of a man who struggles to fulfill his mission, with prominent and wrinkled eyebrows, than an exhausted condemned.
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