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An image of The veil of Saint Veronica by Claude Mellan

Claude Mellan

(France 1598 – 1688)

The veil of Saint Veronica
Other titles:
The sudarium of St Veronica
The Holy Face
Media category
Materials used
ii of 2 states

43.3 x 31.7 cm platemark; 49.0 x 37.5 cm sheet (irreg.)

Signature & date
Signed and dated l.l., [engraved plate] "CMELLAN ... /1649".
Purchased 1997
Accession number
Not on display
Further information

The face of Christ is conjured from one continuous spiralling line that starts at the tip of the nose. While Christ was carrying the Cross to Calvary, Veronica wiped the blood and sweat from His face with her veil, leaving a miraculous imprint on it. The inscription on the print 'Formatur Unicus Una / Non Alter' (the unique one made by one / no other) was devised by the artist's friend, Michel de Marolles. He explained it as "alluding to the beauty of the only son of the Eternal Father, born of a Virgin, and to the single spiralling line…'Non Alter', because there is no one else who looks like Christ and because the engraver of this image had produced such a masterpiece, that anyone else would have great difficulty equalling his achievement".

Bibliography (3)

Robyn Backen, Art and Australia (Vol. 36, No. 3), 'The holy face', pg. 348-349, North Ryde, 1999, 348, 349 (illus.).

Peter Raissis, Le Grand Siècle, Sydney, 1997, 5, 6 (illus.), 8. no catalogue numbers

Irena Zdanowicz, Masters of emotion, Mornington, 2007, 10 (colour illus.). NOTE: this is not the AGNSW impression; 21; plate no. 5 from the NGV collection.

Exhibition history (4)

Le Grand Siècle, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 16 Jun 1997–17 Jul 1997

Light from Shadow, the role of chiaroscuro in spatial imaging, Ivan Dougherty Gallery, Paddington, 22 Oct 2003–29 Nov 2003

Old Europe: Prints & drawings from the collection 1500-1800, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 03 Jun 2006–06 Aug 2006

European prints and drawings 1500-1900, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 30 Aug 2014–02 Nov 2014

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