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LOOK: Hyper-realistic body of Christ on display in Spain, to tour Europe in 2023

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Apr 08, 2023 1:28 pm

It took 15 years for Álvaro Blanco and his team to create the first hyper-realistic sculpture of Jesus and now, tourists and residents of Spain who would like to get an in-depth view of the passion of Christ can experience that from its exhibit in Gaudix Cathedral in Granada.

The life-like sculpture is displayed at the Salamanca Cathedral in central Spain in October 2022 and will remain in Granada until June 30, according to Catholic News Agency.

It was created by Blanco and a group of artists based on historical and scientific data on the Shroud of Turin which, according to History Channel, is a 14-foot linen cloth that bears the negative image of a crucified man in the likes of Jesus Christ. It has since been believed by many, especially Christians, that it is the burial shroud of Christ after his crucifixion.

The studies on the Shroud on which the sculpture was based include information on the position of the body, measurements, as well as blood and wounds. 

Dubbed "The Mystery Man," the artwork is “a figure as real as possible to what is represented on the Shroud of Turin," Blanco said in a 2022 interview with Vatican News.

"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, what we have to understand is that the image of Jesus is the most represented image of all history," he said. 

Blanco and his team were able to achieve that by rendering the body "without artistic movement" or interpretation.

Latex and silicone were used for The Mystery Man, which weighs 165 pounds. Human hair was used all over the body, from the eyelashes and eyebrows down to the feet. 

The skin brought realism into play with every pore, freckle, and tearing wound that resulted from Christ's scourging, as well as those on the hands and feet from his crucifixion.

Another wound can be seen between the fifth and sixth rib which, according to studies, came from a sharp-edged and pointed instrument such as a Roman spear.

Catholic News Agency also noted that The Mystery Man's right eye is bruised and the nose is broken.

The body's posture is in rigor mortis, the fourth stage of death when muscles in the body stiffen. The legs and back are slightly bent, revealing more wounds on the body, including the lacerations on the head which resulted from the crown of thorns placed on Christ during his passion.

Hands are crossed over the pubis and the shoulders have bruises brought about by the heavy weight of the cross.

After Spain, The Mystery Man will be touring Italy then the rest of Europe throughout 2023. The exhibit's organizer, ArtiSplendore, said that it's been eyeing "to go to churches around the world" in the next 20 years.