The Sudarium, or the Veil of St. Veronica
16 3/4 x 12 3/4 in. (42.5 x 32.4 cm)
Medium and Support:
Label for "Printmakers of the Baroque: 17th-Century Explorations of Space and Light", La Salle University Art Museum, December 16, 2013 – February 28th, 2014:
Mellan developed a distinct manner of engraving. To the delight of art critics, he defined forms using mainly parallel lines, with no outline and minimal crosshatching. Some lauded his ability to mesmerize viewers who are compelled to scrutinize the lines on the surface of the print even as the form eludes them in the process.The avid print collector and connoisseur Michel de Marolles, the Abate of Villeloin, gave the artist the idea for this celebrated print of the Sudarium. With one line, beginning at the center of the composition on the tip of Christ’s nose and spiraling outward, the printmaker created the image of the impression made by Christ’s face on St. Veronica’s veil, providing what is thought to be His only authentic portrait.
The inscription “Formatur unicus una, non alter” informs us that the composition was completed with one line, and dares others to replicate it. Mellan’s biographer Pierre Mariette states that others did try but failed.
-Irene Martinez, '14
-Susan Dixon, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Fine Arts