Millions of people around the world have learned CPR on a mannequin known as Resusci Anne. The story of the 19th Century beauty behind the model – or at least, one version of it – will be told at a symposium in London to mark European Restart a Heart Day. But does anyone really know anything about her?
The Lorenzi workshop is a small haven of peace and antiquity in the busy Parisian suburb of Arcueil. And it’s the last of its kind. Downstairs the mouleurs, or cast-makers, create figurines, busts and statues, pouring plaster into moulds in much the same way they have since the family business started in the 1870s.
But if you want to be face-to-face with history, pick your way up the dusty wooden stairs to a room above the workshop. It’s an unsettling experience. Hanging all around you in the narrow attic are life and death masks of poets and artists, politicians and revolutionaries: Napoleon, Robespierre, Verlaine, Victor Hugo, the robust, impatient face of the living Beethoven and the sallow, diminished features of the composer’s death mask.
Yet, surprisingly, of all the visages of the great and the good on display at Lorenzi’s, the best-seller is the mask of a young woman. She has a pleasant, attractive face, with the hint of a smile playing on her lips. Her eyes are closed but they look as if they might spring open at any moment. Hers is the one mask that has no name. She’s known simply as the Inconnue, the unknown woman of the Seine.
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