In 1880 the body of a non identified young woman was recovered in the Seine of Paris.  A hundred years later the “lnconnue de la Seine”, the Stranger of the Seine, was recreated thousands of times from people all over the world.

How is that possible?

Her face was so mysteriously pretty and her enigmatic smile so magnetic that her deadly mask became one of the most reproduced ones in every country. Even today, the shape of her face is used to reproduce the face of first aid mannequins, the dummies used by medical technicians to train students and other people.

When the body of the girl was examined by an employee of the Parisian morgue de l’Archevêché, not far from Notre Dame, the man was so captured by the face of that girl to want to recreate a plaster cast so to show it to his friends. The more the face was reprinted the more popular that girl was becoming in Europe and artists such as Man Ray and Albert Camus dedicated to her some artistic projects.

In 1958 the plaster cast of her face was used to realise the first Resusci Anne, a medical mannequin for the training of cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques. The mannequin was reproduced in millions of copies and sold all over the planet. For this reason it is said that the face of the Stranger of the Seine is the most kissed one of all time.

The woman was sadly never identified and the cause of death remains unclear. It is likely it was due to tuberculosis o suicide, but her enigmatic smile suggests us how, maybe, she knew what her destiny would have been once on the other side.

Matteo Rubboli

I am a publisher specialised in the digital distribution of culture and founder of the portal Vanilla Magazine. I don't wear a tie or branded clothes, I keep my hair short so I don't have to comb it. That's not my fault but just the way I've been drawn as...

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