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ID number:  BIRBI-2001.6
Institution:  The Barber Institute of Fine Arts
Artist / Maker:  Mellan, Claude (1598-1688)
Title / Object name:  The face of Christ
Object type:  Print
Culture:  French
Date made:  1649
Materials:  Engraving
Measurements:  476 x 361 mm
Provenance:  Presented to the Trustees, September 2001
BIRBI-2001.6.jpg

The Face of Christ was made by Claude Mellan. It relates to the miracle of St. Veronica who, on the road to Calvary, wiped the perspiration off Jesus’s face and an image of his face was miraculously transferred on to the cloth. The was Melan’s most famous print; a remarkable demonstration of his virtuosity as an engraver, for it is executed with a single continuous line. Usually line engraving creates tonal variation through juxtaposition and cross-hatching of lines, Mellan developed a technique whereby he would control the swelling and tapering of his line to give greater or lesser emphasis. The text below the image, FORMATVS VNICVS VNA (‘the one formed in one’), is a pun on the uniqueness of Christ, the uniqueness of the miraculous image, and Mellan’s single line.

Inscriptions / Translations:  Inscriptions, sale stamps & c: inscribed, at base: FORMATUR UNICUS UNA/ C Mellan G. P. ET. F. IN AEDBUS REG./ [left] 1649 [centre] NON ALTER

1 Related Publications

French Prints
Reed, S. W.
Boston: The Museum of Fine Art
1998
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