Veronica holding her veil, Hans Memling, c. 1470 - Collection:
National Gallery of Art, and its attached Sculpture Garden, is a national art museum in Washington, D.C., located on the National Mall, between 3rd and 9th Streets, at Constitution Avenue NW. Open to the public and free of charge, the museum was privately established in 1937 for the American people by a joint resolution of the United States Congress. Andrew W. Mellon donated a substantial art collection and funds for construction.
The story of the “Veil of Veronica” is not described in the canonical gospels nor expressly in the apocryphal gospels. They are narratives that are part of accounts of Christian oral traditions.
However, there are proven historical facts that this veil was in Rome in the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries, as there are references to a piece called “Veronica's Veil”.
Ancient scholars in religious writings often assumed that the “Veil of Veronica” was kept in St. Peter's Basilica, in the papacy of John VII, because a chapel was built there at that time and was called “Chapel of Veronica”.
In 1011, an official guardian of the “Veil of Veronica” was identified. Verifiable records really only appear in 1199, when visitors from Rome, Gerald de Barri and Gervásio de Tilbuty, report, on different dates, their visits to Rome and talk about the “Veil of Veronica”.
In the papacy of Innocent III, more precisely in 1207, the relic gained great notoriety when Pope Innocent granted indulgences to those who prayed before the “Veil of Veronica”.
For the next two hundred years, the "Veil of Veronica" was considered to be the most precious of all Christian relics and was the greatest attraction of the city of Rome - for all pilgrims who came there on visits to the Christian faith.
In 1527, Rome was sacked. Witnesses say the relic was not found by the looters. After that, many artists made faithful reproductions of the “Veil of Veronica”, a fact that suggests that the veil remained in St. Peter's Basilica.
Currently, in St. Peter's Basilica, in Rome, there is a relic that is said to be the Veil of Veronica, which is kept in a chapel on the southeast side of the dome of the Basilica.
Few studies and inspections have been carried out in recent centuries, especially in the current years, when, finally, its authentication could be truly proven.
The most recent verification took place in 1907, by a Jesuit historian, but it was superficial and had no conclusive results.
The relic continues to be presented to the public on the fifth Sunday of Lent, when three religious hold the heavy frame, of the painting that protects the image, on a balcony just above the image of Saint Veronica - but at a distance that is difficult to observe the relic and notice details of its features and contours.
The Chapel of The Holy Face on the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem.
The Veronica Chapel on the Via Dolorosa, Jerusalem. Traditionally, the home of St Veronica and site of the miracle.