Claude Mellan’s tour de force is one of the great achievements of printmaking. The entire print consists of a single engraved line. To begin, Mellan placed the point of his burin at the center of Christ’s nose and spiraled outward, swelling and tapering the line as needed to create this celebrated curiosity. His seemingly miraculous feat mirrors the very image it represents — the imprint of Christ’s face on Saint Veronica’s cloth, or sudarium. The inscription, which reads, “It is formed by one and no other,” alludes both to the power of the divine and to the virtuosity of Mellan’s masterful hand.
Credit Line: Text courtesy of the Minneapolis Institute of Art (CC BY 3.0).