Scientists have recreated the face of Raphael Santi Automatic translate
ROME. Raphael probably deliberately reshaped his nose in his self-portrait, revealing facial reconstruction. Raphael apparently didn’t like his nose and replaced it with an idealized version in his famous self-portrait.
This conclusion was reached by scientists at the University of Rome, who created a computer three-dimensional reconstruction of the face of a Renaissance master from a plaster cast of his alleged skull, made in 1833. That year, for the last time, were exhumed the remains of a man who was declared "divine" by his contemporaries for striving for excellence in his work.
“He definitely made his nose more sophisticated,” says Professor Mattia Falconi, a molecular biologist at the Tor Vergata campus. "His nose was, shall we say, a little more prominent."
Raphael died in Rome in 1520 at the age of 37, probably of pneumonia, and was buried in the Roman Pantheon.
The self-portrait, which usually hangs in the Florentine Uffizi Gallery but was in Rome for the 500th anniversary of his death in the summer of 2020, was taken about 15 years before his death, when he was clean-shaven. The visual reconstruction shows how he looked closer to his death when he wore a beard.
Presumably, Raphael had a more aquiline nose, as can be seen in other self-portraits.
Falconi, along with forensic anthropologists and other experts, reconstructed the face using tissue layering techniques used by forensic scientists. The result is a face very similar to the face of the master from the engraving by Marcantonio Raimondi, one of his students. There is also a noticeable resemblance to the man depicted in the painting "Portrait of a Man", painted between 1512 and 1515 by Sebastiano del Piombo, a contemporary and rival of Raphael.
For centuries, there has been speculation that the bones, exhumed in 1833 and reburied in the reconstructed crypt, may not have belonged to Raphael, because some of his students were later buried next to him.
But Falconi believes the study points to a roughly 85 percent chance that the skull belongs to Raphael because of the resemblance to much of the artist’s face as he and his contemporaries.
However, the results of Falconi’s study were not to everyone’s liking. The art critic for the Roman newspaper La Repubblica called them "a cheap video game version" of Raphael.
Falconi expressed the hope that someday the tomb will be reopened for direct skull testing. This would help solve several mysteries, including trying to figure out the cause of his death.