Où est L'Inconnue de la Seine en 3D?

by @edent | , | 1 comment | Read ~108 times.

Black and white photo of the face of a young woman. Her eyes are closed and she is gently smiling.

Twitter can be amazing sometimes...

I was reading about "L'Inconnue de la Seine". The face of a young woman found drowned in the river Seine in the 1800s. Her death mask was enormously popular - with copies of it appearing all over the world. Her smile was compared to the Mona Lisa and her face decorated the popular salons of the day.

Her death mask was even the basis for the first "CPR Doll". Her death has helped save more lives than anyone can possibly count.

There are thousands of photos and drawings of the mask - but no 3D scans.

Twitter, being a wretched hive of scum and villainy machine for serendipity, soon found me someone who works somewhere that makes 3D scans of busts.

But they didn't have L'Inconnue in their collection.

Luckily, there was a museum nearby which had a copy of her face and, before the day was out, she'd been located!

And promptly scanned!

A few days later, and...

(Try dragging the object with your finger or mouse.)

L'Inconnue de la Seine in 3D

Back in 2013, I asked "Should Wikipedia Have 3D Models of Sculptures?" I speculated on how soon it would be before Pirate Museums of illicit and unauthorised scans appeared.

A modern mobile phone and a few minutes in a room with good lighting is all1 you need and - WHAM - you've got a 3D model.

Huge thanks to Jonathan Beck for the scanthe.world project.


  1. OK, you need some decent software and the skills to tidy up the model. 

One thought on “Où est L'Inconnue de la Seine en 3D?

  1. Splendid result - but a pity it's not under an open licence.

    Even if Wikipedia could host 3D models (it's coming...) it couldn't use this one, because of the "no commercial reuse" restriction.

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