Aleteia logoAleteia logo
Tuesday 03 August |
Saint of the Day: St. Martin
home iconArt & Culture
line break icon

The most accurate reconstruction of St. Anthony of Padua’s face

J-P Mauro - published on 06/13/18

Cícero Moraes excels at creating accurate 3D renderings of saints based on their skulls.

Today is the feast day of St. Anthony of Padua, patron saint of lost things and Doctor of the Church. To celebrate the occasion, take a look at this video, which reconstructs St. Anthony’s face based on of 3D scans of his skull. Thanks to Deacon Greg for bringing it to our attention.

In 2014, Brazilian 3D designer Cícero Moraes made this incredible video, which shows the process by which this 3D portrait was produced. It begins with St. Anthony’s skull and adds layer after layer of flesh and sinew until we are presented with the most accurate possible depiction of what St. Anthony would have looked like.

The process takes about a week for Moraes to complete a portrait. As for why he chose to reconstruct the faces of saints, he explained:

“Many times, people look at relics and don’t make the connection, but when there’s a face, the person stops to look at that image with more humanity. Many times, we also look at images that don’t match the real-life person.”

A scientific examination of St. Anthony’s remains, conducted in 1981, left experts with a much different impression of St. Anthony’s bust. They determined his head was elongated, so his face must have been straight and narrow, with a prominent chin, aquiline nose, large eyes and healthy, regular teeth.

Moraes’ reconstruction shows a much different portrait than the features hypothesized in 1981. His face is much broader, his chin less pronounced than they assumed, and his nose is not quite so hooked. Funny enough, this portrait is much closer to the fresco painted on a wall along the presbytery of the Basilica of St. Anthony.

Cícero continues to reconstruct the faces of saints, and has covered nearly a dozen, including St. Rose of Lima and this reconstruction of St. Valentine.

Catholic historySaints
Support Aleteia!

If you’re reading this article, it’s thanks to the generosity of people like you, who have made Aleteia possible.

Here are some numbers:

  • 20 million users around the world read every month
  • Aleteia is published every day in seven languages: English, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Polish, and Slovenian
  • Each month, readers view more than 50 million pages
  • Nearly 4 million people follow Aleteia on social media
  • Each month, we publish 2,450 articles and around 40 videos
  • We have 60 full time staff and approximately 400 collaborators (writers, translators, photographers, etc.)

As you can imagine, these numbers represent a lot of work. We need you.

Support Aleteia with as little as $1. It only takes a minute. Thank you!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Top 10
Saint Mary of the Angels
Bret Thoman, OFS
All your sins will be forgiven if you go to a Franciscan church o...
Ignacio María Doñoro
Francisco Veneto
The military chaplain who pretended to be a criminal to rescue a ...
Theresa Civantos Barber
The one thing we all should do before this summer ends
Violeta Tejera
Carlo Acutis’ first stained glass window in jeans and sneak...
Cerith Gardiner
Gold-winning Filipina Olympian shares her Miraculous Medal for th...
Ary Waldir Ramos Diaz
1st Feast of Our Lady of Silence is August 1
Cerith Gardiner
Simone Biles leaves the Olympics with an important lesson for her...
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.