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La Belle Italienne (Mask) - Item #744

$ 275.00



16 Inches High x 8 Inches Wide x 7 Inches Deep

This mask is also known as the Unknown Woman of the Seine, or L'Inconnue de la Seine in French. The most popular story goes that a woman's body was recovered from the River Seine in Paris in the late 19th century. The pathologist at the morgue found the woman so beautiful, he had a mold-maker come in to create a mold of her face. There are other stories as well, some proposing the mask was not taken from a corpse due to the healthy-looking face and the woman's seemingly posed expression. In any case, around the early 20th century, reproductions of the mask became popular wall-hangings for the home. Her closed eyes and small smile, suggesting a look of peace, and her beauty have captivated people for over a century now. La Belle Italienne has inspired works of art and literature. It also became the face of the first CPR model made around the 1960s that has been used all over the world. Although the identity of the young woman and the origin of the mask may forever be unknown, the woman whose impression was taken has lived on in this mask.


Artist: Unknown

Museum: Unknown

Time Period: Modern, 19th-20th centuries

1911 Catalog ID # - 13525



Sciolino, Elaine. "At a Family Workshop Near Paris, the 'Drowned Mona Lisa' Lives On." The New York Times, Europe, Arcueil Journal, 20 July 2017.

Grange, Jeremy. "Resusci Anne and L'Inconnue: The Mona Lisa of the Seine." BBC News Magazine, 16 Oct. 2013.