Life Mask Facial Reconstructions of History
Before photography, life masks gave us the perfect likeness of early Americans. Plaster was applied to the head and sometimes upper torso to create a mold to cast the life mask of a person. Using life masks, I was able to complete a forensic/academic study of how the subjects most likely appeared using Adobe Photoshop to add flesh, hair, and other details.
This page features the life mask reconstructions of the faces cast in plaster by John Henri Isaac Browere (1790—1834) except for one, the youthful 28-year-old Marquis de Lafayette which was cast by Jean-Antoine Houdon (1741-1828)
See these early Americans come to life. Each post features a reconstruction of a life mask along with a little history to boot.
These are LIFE masks, not death masks. Some have written to me, confused about the difference. Life masks are cast while the subject is still alive as opposed to death masks, which are cast after death.
I do not reconstruct death masks as many times they are distorted and do not convey an exact likeness as the eyes sink, and the muscles relax. This Facebook post explains more.