Head of Christ

Master of the Orcagnesque Misericordia Italian

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 601

This hypnotic panel, with its original frame, shows two angels holding the cloth on which Christ’s face was miraculously imprinted when Veronica wiped his brow on his way to his crucifixion. For centuries the portrait, indeed self-portrait, that resulted was understood as the true likeness of Christ. The miraculous picture, not made by human hands, became a foundational image for European artists. The inscription on Christ’s collar from John 14:27, "My peace I give unto you," suggests that this precious painting may have been used during the celebration of Mass as a pax to pass the kiss of peace.

Head of Christ, Master of the Orcagnesque Misericordia (Italian, Florence, active second half 14th century), Tempera on wood, gold ground

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