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Leonardo Da Vinci faked Shroud of Turin

Monday, July 06 2009 @ 11:48 PM CDT

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David Derbyshire

HE WAS the ultimate Renaissance man - studying anatomy, designing a rudimentary helicopter and creating some of the most admired paintings of the age.

SPITTING image ... researchers have matched a drawing of Leonardo Da Vinci, left, to the Shroud of Turin.

But could Leonardo Da Vinci also have perpetrated history's greatest art forgery?

That's the suggestion of one expert, who claims that Leonardo was responsible for faking the Turin Shroud.

The relic has inspired generations of pilgrims who have flocked to see what they believe is the face of the crucified Jesus. But it has also provoked bitter controversy after scientists carbon-dated it to the Middle Ages.

Now a US artist has entered the fray, putting forward her own theory about its origin. Lillian Schwartz, a graphic consultant at the School of Visual Arts in New York, claims that the image is a self-portrait of Leonardo, which was made using a crude photographic technique.

Using computer scans she found that the face on the Turin Shroud and a self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci share the same dimensions.

In the 1980s Miss Schwartz made detailed measurements of the Mona Lisa and a Leonardo self-portrait. To her amazement, the two faces lined up perfectly, leading her to suggest that he used a self-portrait as a model for the painting.

Earlier this year she used the same technique to compare another Leonardo self-portrait with the Turin Shroud. "It matched. I'm excited about this," she said.

"There is no doubt in my mind that the proportions that Leonardo wrote about were used in creating this Shroud's face."

A television documentary broadcast in Britain this week showed how Leonardo scorched his facial features on to the linen of the shroud using a sculpture of his face and an early photographic device called a camera obscura.

Shroud researcher Lynn Picknett said: "It is spooky, it is jaw-dropping.

"The faker of the shroud had to be a heretic. He had to have a grasp of anatomy and he had to have at his fingertips a technology which would completely fool everyone until the 20th century."

The program points out that Leonardo was fascinated with optical equipment and his notebooks contain one of the earliest drawings of a camera obscura.


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