Visitors at the The Mystery Man exhibit in Salamanca, Spain Visitors at the The Mystery Man exhibit in Salamanca, Spain 

‘The Mystery Man’: A hyperrealistic artwork of the Shroud of Christ

A hyperrealistic, volumetric artwork of the body of Christ as revealed on the Shroud of Turin is on display at the Cathedral of Salamanca, as part of a "pilgrim" exhibition visiting five continents.

By Johan Pacheco, Salamanca, Spain

One of the most emblematic Catholic Cathedrals in Spain is hosting an exhibition of the hyperrealistic and volumetric artwork entitled "The Mystery Man", which is the result of an assiduous study of the Holy Shroud, known as the Shroud of Turin. The effort took more than 15 years, and was carried out by Spanish artists.

The exhibition opened on 13 October, and encompasses a floorspace of 600 square meters. It fills four rooms that narrate the passion and death of Christ, ending with impressive work of a model of what the body of Jesus of Nazareth could have looked like, according to historical and scientific data offered by the Shroud.

‘Most represented image in history’

The curator of “The Mystery Man” exhibition, Alvaro Blanco, told Vatican News that the group of artists sought to create “a figure as real as possible to what is represented on the Shroud of Turin.”

"We are before a work made with the hyperrealist technique in which all the details that appear in the Shroud have been introduced, although there have been some previous studies,” said Mr. Blanco. “What we have to understand is that the image of Jesus is the most represented image of all history."

Mr. Blanco highlighted the 15 years it took to study and create the model and exhibition, thanking especially "the courage of ArtiSplendore and the Cathedral of Salamanca which have bet on the project of the exhibition."

Representation of Christ based on Shroud of Turin
Representation of Christ based on Shroud of Turin

Exhibit of The Mystery Man

The Mystery Man is a hyperrealistic work, based on studies of the image of the man on the Shroud.

It was created based on 3D studies, including the results of various studies published on the Shroud throughout its history, such as on the blood, wounds, measurements, and position of the body.

The exhibition is composed of four parts. Mr. Blanco noted that an audio guide accompanies the visitor through the rooms, as well as a video projection which highlights the characteristics of the Shroud.

The exhibit also includes an immersive experience room with artistic depiction of the face of Jesus. The final room is focused on the hyperrealitic model of the body of Jesus, recreated according to the characteristics of the Shroud. 

The exhibit's curator, Alvaro Blanco
The exhibit's curator, Alvaro Blanco

‘The mystery has become flesh’

The Bishop of the Diocese of Salamanca, Bishop José Luis Retana, expressed his opinion after visiting the exhibition.

"I liked the work very much,” he said. “The truth is that standing in front of what is an exact representation of what Jesus suffered and died leaves a strong impression."

Bishop Retana suggested that the body of the man in the Holy Shroud can represent "the concreteness of God's love that becomes flesh in Jesus Christ who died as an evildoer with a terrible sacrifice for our salvation. There is no greater love in the world."

“The mystery has become flesh, but it has become flesh to die for us, and then rise again,” said Bishop Retana, “I believe that the exhibition can foster the faith of believers and arouse the faith of non-believers."

A portion of the exhibit
A portion of the exhibit

Pilgrim exhibition

The organizers of the art exhibition, ArtiSplendore, say they hope to bring the exhibit to various other countries in the coming months and years.

It should be present in Lisbon, Portugal, for World Youth Day in 2023, and in Rome in 2025 as part of the Jubilee of Mercy.

The exhibition is scheduled to remain in Salamanca until December, after which it will begin its tour of the five continents.

15 October 2022, 12:16