When we want to know what people of the past looked like – not only before photography, but also prehistoric times – at our disposal are only vague photos of skeletons and occasionally portraits of artists who did not know the techniques of painting, so that such paintings look a little childish.
Many artists, having only descriptions of contemporaries, tried to reproduce the image of a historical figure on canvas, but they can hardly be considered reliable. To help us comes science, which has reached such heights that can recreate, for example, the facial features of a person who lived in the Middle Ages on the preserved remains. And thanks to this, we learn that the usual images in textbooks are at odds with reality.
Henry IV, King of France
Ruled France from 1589 to 1610, was killed by Catholic fanatic Francois Ravalyak. He was nicknamed Henry the Great for being afraid of the welfare of his subjects. Forensic reconstruction of the face in 3D recreated on the basis of his skull.
500-year-old Dublin resident
In 2014, archaeologists discovered the remains of a man who died about 500 years ago. He was one of four people whose skeletons showed signs of chronic malnutrition and heavy physical labor. This suggests that the dead were poor. One of the skeletons has a skull, which was reconstructed.
Johann Sebastian Bach
One of the greatest composers of all time lived and worked in the 17th and 18th centuries. Scottish anthropologist Carolyn Wilkinson measured Bach’s facial bones and recreated the composer’s face as it should have looked.
The daughter of Pharaoh Ramses II and his beloved wife Nefertari died about 2,000 years ago. Scientists from the University of Melbourne on the skull determined that she was between 18 and 25 years old, her height was about 162 centimeters, lean physique. The cause of death could not be determined, as the rest of the mummy’s body was never found.
As one of the brightest mathematicians and astronomers of the Renaissance, Copernicus created a model of the universe, centered on the Sun, not the Earth. He died at the age of 70.
Nefertiti (but that’s not accurate)
DNA tests showed that the mummy, known as the Young Lady, belonged to Akhenaten’s sister and Tutankhamun’s mother. Although her identity is still being debated, many believe she is queen Nefertiti. Paleoartist Elisabeth Deinis recreated a bust of the Egyptian ruler.
He was a French politician and lawyer known for his role in the French Revolution and the Age of Terror. Robespierre was executed on a guillotine on July 28, 1794 at the age of 36.
Scientists used his posthumous mask and preserved records of the revolutionary’s medical history to reconstruct his face and determine what diseases he suffered from.
His contemporaries wrote about vision problems, every night Robespierre had blood coming from his nose, and bile was also sprayed (“yellow skin and eyes”), asthenia (“constantly tired”), unhealed sores on his legs and frequent skin diseases, smallpox scars. Historians believe he suffered from sarcoma. His mouth and eyes were also constantly twitching. Symptoms worsened by 1794. The day before the execution, Robespierre was shot in the jaw under unclear circumstances.
St. Anthony of Padua
Catholic priest Antony Paduan was born in 1195 in a noble family in Lisbon. He died at the age of 35 in Padua, Italy. His contemporaries celebrated his boundless devotion and love for the poor and sick, as well as his sermons. Antony became one of the fastest canonized people in the history of the church. In 2014, a team of researchers at the University of St. Anthony recreated his face using the skull of a saint.