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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 23, 2005

UI Art Faculty John Beldon Scott Will Lecture At UI Museum Of Art Oct. 6

John Beldon Scott, a professor of art history at the University of Iowa, will discuss "The Shroud of Turin as a Work of Art" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6 in the Lasansky Room of the UI Museum of Art (UIMA).

Scott's lecture will be free and open to the public. Seating is limited.

The Shroud of Turin is a linen cloth believed by many to be the burial shroud of Jesus, but its exact origins have been the subject of widespread debate. Scott's lecture will look at the relic from a point of view different from that presented in the scientific literature and popular media.

"This famous piece of linen has been studied and examined using many different analytical approaches," Scott said. "I want to look at the relic and its ghostly image with a cool art-historical eye and ask a simple question: putting aside the debate about the object's antiquity, what can be learned by analyzing it as though it were a work of art?"

The Shroud was preserved in a late 17th-century chapel designed by Guarino Guarini. The chapel, which was gutted by fire in 1997, was the subject of Scott's book, "Architecture for the Shroud: Relic and Ritual in Turin." In 2002, the book was selected for the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association, considered one of the most significant book awards in the field of art history.

In preparing the book, Scott discovered that he could not understand the chapel without studying the history of the Shroud itself, the only relic in Europe that still today commands international attention. Without getting into the debate over the antiquity of the Shroud, Scott studied the beliefs about the Shroud held by its owners, handlers and worshippers over a period of 500 years.

Scott received a bachelor's degree from Indiana University and master's and doctoral degrees from Rutgers University. He is author of two books and numerous scholarly articles on Italian art history, including previous works on the chapel in Turin as well as studies of Borromini, Pietro da Cortona, Bernini, the patronage of the Barberini family and urbanism in early modern Turin. He has been a fellow at the American Academy in Rome, the National Humanities Center, the Institute for Advanced Study and the Stanford Humanities Center.

The School of Art and Art History is part of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Art and Art History web site at

The UI Museum of Art, located on North Riverside Drive in Iowa City, is open noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, and noon to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Admission is free. Public metered parking is available in UI parking lots west and north of the museum.

For more information on the UI Museum of Art visit on the World Wide Web. Information on other UI arts events is available at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072,

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