This portrait of Christ is dated “13th century” by Wikimedia Commons. It was taken from a Web site that no longer exists. The portrait is attributed to Arsen Bulmaisimisze, a Georgian name that comes up in some Georgian sites, but Dr. Boli has forgotten all the Georgian he ever knew except “Peachtree Street,” and he suspects that may be the wrong kind of Georgian. Every other mention of that name in English on the Internet is connected with this image, which appears on a few other sites scattered here and there. Some of those sites are stock-photo sites that have clearly harvested the same image from Wikimedia Commons and would like you to pay them up to $200 for it, which is a useful cautionary tale for designers who buy stock images. Every site that mentions a date at all dates it to “13th century.”

Clearly, then, this is one of those cases where literally all the information on the Internet has propagated from one source, and that one source is egregiously wrong. If this is a painting from the thirteenth century, Dr. Boli will eat his hat with a side of Marshmallow Peeps. It cannot be earlier than the nineteenth century, probably late nineteenth century.

So your challenge (and it may be an impossible one) is this: identify the true source and date of this image. The prize will be the right to say, for one twenty-four-hour period, that you are smarter than the entire Internet.


  1. KevinT says:

    I believe this is an image of a young Alice Cooper sans makeup but avec beard. I used to have this picture in a liner sleeve of a vinyl phonograph album, circa 1972, but it (alas) was lost when I was unceremoniously evicted from my tenement shortly thereafter.

  2. Tertiumkid says:

    The Svetitskhoveli Cathedral liked it so much they have a copy on the wall…in a frame no less. Perhaps they got it from the stock image site? (You can see it here in someone’s flickr photo: Your Georgian is much more fluent than mine. I am, however, a bit concerned that they persist in describing themselves as an independent country, even after the late unpleasantness!

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