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L'inconnue de la Seine (Unknown woman of the Seine)

L'inconnue de la Seine (Unknown woman of the Seine)

Regular price $328.00 CAD
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L'Inconnue de la Seine (English: The Unknown Woman of the Seine) was an unidentified young woman who’s putative death became a popular fixture on the walls of artists' homes after 1900. Her visage inspired numerous literary works. In the United States, the mask is also known as La Belle Italienne.

According to an oft-repeated story, the body of the young woman was pulled out of the River Seine at the Quai du Louvre in Paris around the late 1880s. Since the body showed no signs of violence, suicide was suspected. A pathologist at the Paris Morgue was, according to the story, so taken by her beauty that he felt compelled to make a wax plaster cast death mask of her face. It has been questioned whether the expression of the face could belong to a drowned person.

In 1960, after Pitt’s Peter Safar codeveloped cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), he called Norwegian toy maker Asmund Laerdal. Would he be willing to create a mannequin on which people could practice CPR? Laerdal, as it turned out, had just saved his 2-year-old son from drowning. He consented and suggested the mannequin bear the face of the unknown drowned girl; his family had one of the masks.

The girl now has a name—Resusci Anne. And each year, more than 12 million CPR trainees attempt to breathe life into her.
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