Veil of Veronica
El Paso Museum of Art
April 15 through October 7, 2012
Veil of Veronica will open to the public Sunday, April 15, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. in the Dorrance and Olga Roderick Gallery: Retablo Niche at the El Paso Museum of Art. Entrance to the Museum and this exhibition are free to the public. Occasionally the Museum features traveling exhibitions for which admission is charged such as Magnificent México: 20th Century Modern Masterworks which is currently on view with an admission fee of $10 per non member adult age 13 and up and $5 per EPMA member adult age 13 and up. Free for children under 12 and all active military personnel and their families (ID Required).
The Veil of Veronica is a popular retablo subject which portrays a relic related to the story of Saint Veronica as recorded in the Apocryphal Gospel of Nicodemus. Veronica, observing Christ’s suffering, wipes his face of blood and sweat as he is on his way to Mount Cavalry. An exact likeness of the face of Christ was preserved upon the cloth and this item became a relic representing the tale. It is thought that the ‘Veronica’ of the story is not the woman’s actual name but an adoption from vera icon, meaning ‘true image’ in Latin. Thus, ‘La Verónica’ may refer to the woman in the story, the cloth, or the image of Christ.
The iconography of this motif tends to portray the cloth with the image of Christ’s face ending at the base of the neck rather than a depiction of Veronica or the person of Christ. All of the retablos shown can be positively identified as belonging to this motif, but there are many differences among them. Through an examination of the symbols and images used interesting comparisons can be made among these retablos.
This motif has been a popular icon since the Middle Ages when the story of Veronica was popular with the Franciscan Order, the Order largely responsible for converting large areas of modern-day North America, may be responsible for the motif’s currently popularity.