Mystery Of L’Inconnue De La Seine The Beauty Mask

L’Inconnue de la Seine was a young woman with an unknown identity that her beauty death mask became a popular fixture. She was an unknown Parisian woman that her life after death became the beauty mask, an inspiration to countless writers, painters, and artists.  The body of the young woman was pulled out of the Seine River in Paris around the late 1880s. Her death was deemed a suicide since there was no evidence of violence.  No one knew, but even in death, she was strikingly beautiful. Others believed that she was murdered and some even had suggestions for who she really was.

L’Inconnue De La Seine Unknown identity of beauty mask
L’Inconnue de la Seine

A worker at the Paris morgue was so taken by her beauty that he made a plaster cast of her face and with that, she was immortalized. The expression on the young woman’s face was peaceful and calm. Her eyes were closed as if she was asleep. Her mouth seemed to be smiling with slightly upturned. In the following years, numerous copies were produced and these copies quickly became a fashionable in Parisian Bohemian society. The existentialist writer Albert Camus even noted that her smile was a modern day for Mona Lisa.

Some suggest that she was no more than 16 years old at the time of her death. Others suggest that she was a poor woman because of her simple hairstyle. No matter what caused her death, the biggest mystery seemed to be her smile. No one ever claimed to know the L'Inconnue de la Seine's body, even though thousands of people saw her. Even so, many people have remembered her face and she became the ideal beauty of the time. It did not take long, after her death mask plaster cast, and then it was mass produced were hanging in many living rooms in homes of French artists.

This death mask of an unknown woman inspired legions of literary writers which rambled about her beautiful expression and the mystery behind the smile. Some of the literary writers are Albert Camus, Louis Ferdinand Céline, Rainer Maria Rilke, Anais Nin and Maurice Blanchot. Her beauty mask after death became a fashionable talking or reference point.

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