Gerard de la Vallee – The bearing of the cross and the meeting with Saint Veronica –
Saint Veronica was a woman of Jerusalem in the first century AD, according to Catholic tradition. A celebrated saint in many pious Christian countries, the Acta Sanctorum published by the Bollandists listed her feast under July 12, but the German Jesuit scholar Joseph Braun cited her commemoration in Festi Marianni on 13 January.
According to Church tradition, Veronica was moved with sympathy when she saw Jesus carrying his cross to Golgotha and gave him her veil that he might wipe his forehead. Jesus accepted the offering, held it to his face, and then handed it back to her—the image of his face miraculously impressed upon it. This piece of cloth became known as the Veil of Veronica.
The name “Veronica” itself is a Latinisation of Berenice (Greek: Βερενίκη, Berenikē, with a secondary form Beronike), a Macedonian name, meaning “bearer of victory”. The woman who offered her veil to Jesus was known by this name in the Byzantine East, but in the Latin West the name took a life of its own.
There is no reference to the story of St Veronica and her veil in the canonical Gospels.
Gerard de la Vallée (1596/1597 – after 1667) was a Flemish painter of landscapes and history paintings. His work was inspired by the great Flemish masters and mainly produced for the export market.