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Rome Reports

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3D designer uncovers face of ancient saint

3D designer Cícero Moraes knew only two details about his upcoming project. He was tasked with a facial reconstruction while knowing only that his subject was a European woman of around 50 years old. Upon finishing this assignment, he learned the surprising background of this woman.

His unexpected subject was Italian St. Catherine of Genoa. She lived an unhappy life, until she had an encounter with God that led to her serving the sick in a Genoa hospital.

3D Designer
“I was very happy to know that the skull was St. Catherine of Genoa. A considerable part of my family is descended from Italians and Catholics. I am always honored to reconstruct a face.”

The reconstruction of St. Catherine's face was completed in multiple steps, including photographing the skull, digitizing the face with photogrammetry, and finding statistical data to construct the different shapes that make up the face.

3D Designer
“To know the thickness of the skin in some points, it was necessary to reconstruct the main muscles of the face to make some projections. For example, the nose structure using the nasal bone information and the size of the lips by projections from teeth and eyes.”

The reconstruction of the saint was presented at the Museum of Genoa's Capuchin Cultural Heritage, done in partnership with the Arc-Team research group in Italy. The facial reconstruction sparks curiosity not only about the life of this saint, but also the advancing knowledge experts have of ancient times.

Rachel Dobrzynski