In the 1880s, the body of a young woman was found drifting in the Seine River in Paris. One hundred years later, L’lnconnue de la Seine (also known as The Unknown Woman of the Seine), is resuscitated thousands of times a day by people all around the world.
How is this possible? Well, her face was so mysteriously beautiful that her death mask became one of the most popular art pieces in the world. It’s still used to mould the faces of first aid mannequins today.
When this Jane Doe was found in the Seine, a pathologist at the Paris morgue was so overtaken by her beauty that he made a plaster mould of her face to show his friends.
Several copies of the face were made, and by 1900, reproductions of L’lnconnue’s death mask served as fashionable home décor throughout Europe.
Several popular literary works alluded to the L’lnconnue, not only in Europe, but in Russia and America as well. Some say that a whole generation of German girls modelled their look after her.
In 1958, the mask was used to create the first ever Resusci Anne, used for CPR courses. This is why the face of the L’Inconnue de la Seine is said to be the most kissed face of all time.
In the 1950’s, the L’lnconnue was even seen as an erotic symbol by many Europeans. Some even compare the girl’s mysterious smile to that of the Mona Lisa. No one knows what the nameless young woman was thinking before she drowned in the Seine…but that knowing smile almost makes it seem like she knew about the fame awaiting her on the other side.