Computer Artists Say They've Re-Created Christ's Face Using Shroud of Turin

Tech artists say they've re-created Jesus' true face from the Shroud of Turin.

ByABC News via logo
March 29, 2010, 6:56 PM

March 30, 2010— -- Using cutting-edge technology on the famed Shroud of Turin, a team of computer artists has uncovered what they say may be a portrait of the true face of Jesus.

The History Channel will reveal the image -- and the painstaking and technical process of finding it -- tonight at 9 p.m. ET in the special "The Real Face of Jesus?"

Viewers should be prepared: The results achieved through the convergence of science and religion doesn't resemble the popularized images of Jesus.

It's impossible to know how close the computer-generated images come to reality, but they'll likely be of tremendous interest, both to believers and to the curious.

"There's a long tradition in Christian theology and Christian history of seeking the face of Christ -- of wanting to know what he was like as a man," said Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and author.

The artists worked to pull impressions from the Shroud of Turin, the famed blood-stained linen that many believe was the burial cloth of the crucified Christ.

"If you want to re-create the face of Jesus and you want to get the actual face of Jesus, you have only one object and that's the shroud," said computer artist Ray Downing of Studio Macbeth.

The ancient shroud contains a faint impression of the front and back of a human body, along with blood, dirt and water stains from its age.

Cutting-edge modern skills were required to pull an accurate flesh and blood face from a piece of fabric so old.

The year-long project culminated with a team of graphic artists using the newest technology to create a computer-generated image.

"I have a lot of information about that face and my estimation is we're pretty darn close to what this man looked like," Downing, the lead artist, said.