Tuesday, October 5, 2010

L'Inconnue de la Seine

L'Inconnue de la SeineL'Inconnue de la Seine (French for "the unknown woman of the Seine") was an unidentified young woman whose death mask became a popular fixture on the walls of artists' homes after 1900. Her visage was the inspiration for numerous literary works.

According to an often-repeated story, the body of the young woman was pulled out of the Seine River at the Quai du Louvre in Paris around the late 1880s. The body showed no signs of violence, and suicide was suspected. A pathologist at the Paris morgue was so taken by her beauty that he had a moulder make a plaster cast death mask of her face. The identity of the girl was never discovered. The estimated the age of the model was no more than 16, given the firmness of the skin. In the following years, numerous copies were produced. The copies quickly became a fashionable morbid fixture in Parisian Bohemian society.

The face of the unknown woman was used for the head of the first aid mannequin Rescue Annie. It was created by Peter Safar and Asmund Laerdal in 1958 and was used starting in 1960 in numerous CPR courses. Therefore, the face has been called by some "the most kissed face" of all time.

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L'Inconnue_de_la_Seine