The Evolution of Facial Depiction from Human Remains

Face Lab at Liverpool School of Art, Liverpool John Moores University has curated a virtual exhibition titled “The Evolution of Facial Depiction from Human Remains”.

Facial depiction from human remains is a process whereby the face of an individual is built onto the skull for the purpose of identification. The theory is that, in the same way that we all have unique faces, we all have unique skulls, and it is the small variations in the shape and proportions of the skull that lead to significant variation in our faces.

Facial depiction utilises an exciting mix of science and art. Practitioners and researchers in this field have embraced and adapted new and innovative technologies to produce more effective standards and more realistic faces, and future developments may also be linked to scientific advances, such as DNA analysis and 4D imaging.

This gallery showcases the evolution and development of facial depiction procedures since the 19th century. This series of images shows a range of practice, including 2D representations drawn over a photograph of the skull; 3D sculptures using wax/clay placed onto a skull; 3D models using interactive computer software; semi-automated estimation using computer algorithms; developments with 3D printing; the future direction of facial depiction practice; and much more. The gallery aims to show a variety of methods that encompass this ‘scientific art.’ Scientific Art is the application of artistic skills whilst following scientific rules.

“The fact that facial reconstruction procedures exist at all is a reflection of our unlimited fascination with human face, and this preoccupation has led to a more specific interest in the faces of people from the past. “

Wilkinson, C. 2004. Forensic Facial Reconstruction, Cambridge University Press

You can find out more about Face Lab at www.ljmu.ac.uk/facelab Twitter @FaceLabLJMU Instagram @FACELABLJMU Facebook www.facebook.com/FaceLabLiverpool

  • Image of Wilhelm His and Karl Seffner - Facial reconstruction of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bericht an den Rath der Stadt Leipzig (Leipzig 1895.)
    Wilhelm His and Karl Seffner - Facial reconstruction of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bericht an den Rath der Stadt Leipzig (Leipzig 1895.) about Wilhelm His and Karl Seffner - Facial reconstruction of Johann Sebastian Bach. Bericht an den Rath der Stadt Leipzig (Leipzig 1895.)
  • Image of Facial reconstruction accuracy test (Von Eggeling, 1913)
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  • Image of 3D bust of Ivan the Terrible, Tsar Ivan IV (Gerasimov, 1955)
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  • Image of 2D method of facial reconstruction – Karen Taylor
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  • Image of Richard Neave and the Manchester method
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  • Image of Technological advances – Digital facial depiction from skeletal remains (Richard III)
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  • Image of Realistic faces from archaeology
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