A recent article on the Marie Madeleine website (in French) featured a very interesting article on the work of the forensic scientist, Dr. Philippe Charlier. Charlier has done work on the remains of Henri IV, Charles III, Diane de Poitiers and other historical figures.
Charlier is best known for his forensic recreation of the likeness of Henri IV. He used CT imaging and digital facial reconstruction to create the following portrait of the French king.
Charlier and his team recently analyzed the skull and hairs from the relics of Mary Magdalene from the Basilica de Sainte Madeleine in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume. Using hundreds of digital models of the skull as a model, Charlier’s partner, artist-sculptor Philippe Froesh, sculpted a meticulous reconstruction of the face of the woman in the tomb at the Basilica. The result was an astonishing image of a fifty-five year old, dark-haired woman of Mediterranean aspect.
The team has not been given permission to conduct DNA testing that might give further information on the relic, but PJ and I were both struck by the resemblance to a medieval sculpture of Mary Magdalene that we photographed in the church of Saint-Caprais in Mozac.
In closeup, the figure in the capital has the same eyes as Froesh’s sculpture. Although depicted as a younger woman the two images are remarkably similar, even down to the serious gaze.
Meanwhile, we are looking forward to Charlier’s team’s next effort; an investigation of the controversial skull of Lazarus kept at the Cathédrale Sainte-Marie-Majeure in Marseilles.