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Georges Rouault

“The Holy Face”





In his early career Rouault painted social subjects such as clowns and prostitutes, intertwining the portraits with his despair and anger. However, from around 1912 he started to paint religious themes, including the Passion of Christ and scenes from the Bible. The theme of the “holy face” emerged around the same time. It is presumed that Rouault got inspiration from the Veil of Veronica, the Catholic legend that relates that when Jesus was carrying the cross, he wiped his forehead with a veil Veronica offered to him, leaving a relic with the image of his face vividly impressed on it.