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Journal > Volumes > 50 (2019) / 2 (Summer)
Blood Kinetics and Narrative Performance in Early Modern Devotions to the Shroud of Turin
Andrew Casper
Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

The Shroud of Turin experienced its most intense devotional enthusiasm in the century after its first public exhibition in Turin in 1578. During this period, the cloth and its mysterious imprint of Christ’s body transcended the static nature of an icon by becoming a performative image in the context of private devotional worship. Operating in consort with devotional texts, the figuration of Christ’s crucified body activates the otherwise static depiction of flowing of blood. Furthermore, the Shroud permitted beholders to witness a narrative performance of Christ’s death and resurrection through the possession and manipulation of reproductions, making the movement of Christ’s body in and out of the tomb a kinetically visible phenomenon. These performative qualities of the Shroud of Turin, as well as the beholder’s active interaction with it, guaranteed its devotional prestige and facilitate new considerations of the role of images in religious devotion.

Pages: 371 - 398