Says Maria Valtorta: “I was [praying] and contemplating Jesus lying on the marble stone of anointing with alongside the weeping mother kissing His pierced hands, I noticed and wondered why the face of Jesus who had just died, and put on that stone, seemed more like the face of Jesus when he was still alive, for thinness and beauty, than how it was instead on the way to the Calvary, on the Cross, and how it appears on the Holy Shroud.
Jesus replied: Because on the way to Calvary I was hot, swollen, with veins protruding from the effort and already with a principle of swelling for the retention of urea, caused by the atrocious lashing. On the Cross, it became even more so. After death, the spasm stopped and, emptied in part from liquids both naturally and because hit by the spear, swelling of the face decreased suddenly. Also being washed by my mother’s tears was enough to make my face look more like before. But on the Shroud it appears the face of one dead for more hours. Therefore it had already begun the usual edema process, which is much stronger in those who are killed with torture equal to mine. It is the serum that transudates and that makes you say that the dead looks like when was alive. It is the great peace that death gives also to the most tortured faces. Further consider that the image appears on a shroud and fixed on it for a process of natural aromas and salt. You know that any stain that appears on a shroud tends to expand. But in reality the traits of my face in the morning of the Resurrection, that is, when I ceased to be covered by the Shroud, were so swollen. Life has returned to the Living “.
Jesus says: “Keep in mind that Galilee was not a big place and that the Galileans were relatively few, they almost always married among themselves and therefore there were two or three types of physical features that for centuries could be found on their facs. It would not be wrong to say that in all the small countries, if you went back to the origins, there would be two or three original family roots, who married or remarried among themselves, giving a pronounced physical character across the Galilean race. That John [the apostle] also had a physical resemblance with Me should not come as a surprise. He was a blond Galilean. That was a more rare type than the darker Galilean, but it existed. But his resemblance with Me was even more marked in regard to the spirit.”
Describes Maria Valtorta: “And I got lost contemplating His face (of Jesus) and observing the smallest details. And I repeat them once again. Hair parted in the middle of the head and falling in long locks to the shoulders. Wavy for a good palm, then ending in true curl. Shiny, thin, well combed, a blonde color that especially in the final curl has decided shades of copper. Very high forehead, beautiful, smooth as a band, the slightly sunken temples on which the blue veins bring slight indigo shadows showing through the white skin, of the special white of certain individuals of red-blond hair, a white milk just a shade tending to ivory but with a faintest touch of light blue, delicate skin that seems made of petals of white camellia, so fine that the lighter thin vein shows through and so sensitive that every emotion shows with more intense pallor or redness.
But Jesus I have seen more and more pale, just a little tanned by the sun taken freely in his 3 years of preaching through Palestine. But Mary is white because she was more withdrawn at home, and is a more pinkish white. Jesus is an ivory white with a slight hint of the blue. Nose long and straight, with just a slight curve upward toward the eyes, a beautiful nose thin and well shaped. Eyes received, beautiful, the color that I have so often described as very dark sapphire. Eyebrows and eyelashes thick, but not too long, beautiful, shiny, dark brown but with a tiny spark of gold at the top of each hair. Those of Maria are of a very light brown, thinner and more sparse. Perhaps they appear so because they are more clear, so clear as to be almost blond.
Smooth mouth, tending to small, well-shaped, very similar to that of the Mother, from the lips of the right size, neither too thin to appear like a snake, not too pronounced. At the center are rounded and are accentuated in beautiful curve, the sides almost disappear, making the mouth appear smaller than it is. The mouth is of a beautiful healthy red that opens onto the teeth which are regular, strong, rather long and very white. Mary’s teeth are small, but also regular and equally spaced.
Cheeks thin but not skinny. An oval very narrow and long but beautiful, not too high cheekbones nor too elusive. The beard, thick chin and bisected into two curly tips, surrounds, without covering, the mouth up to the lower lip and then goes shorter and shorter to the cheeks where, at the height of the mouth’s corners, it becomes very short, simply putting as a shadow of dusting copper on the pallor of his cheeks. It is, where it is thick, of a dark copper color: blond-red. And so also the mustache, which is not very thick and kept short, so that it barely covers the upper lip between the nose and the lip, and is limited to the corners of the mouth. Small ears well shaped and very united to the head. They do not protrude at all”.
(Maria Valtorta, “The Notebooks of 1944”).