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This painting came to the Museum as part of the founding collection given to the University of Oxford by General Pitt-Rivers in 1884. It is said to be Russian, but the inscriptions are in Greek and Latin, and its origins are uncertain. The inscription identifies the painting as a copy of one held at the monastery of Saint Sylvester in Rome, which itself is a copy of the picture ‘sent to Abagarus’. This refers to the Holy Mandylion, a cloth on which the face of Jesus was supposed to be imprinted. According to legend, Jesus sent the cloth to Abagarus, king of Edessa in Mesopotamia. A painting representing this imprinted face was held at San Silvestro de Capite in Rome and is now in the Vatican Palace.
The Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford
Our Saviour Jesus Christ
oil on canvas
H 71 x W 60.5 cm
gift, before 1884