Professor Gérard Lucotte was able to lead a comprehensive survey on the" death mask of Napoleon " still baptized Mask Rusi, after the owner entrusted him the relic for expertise. He found in particular the presence of 5 hairs (among which 2 were covered with plaster). Among these hairs, two had kept a bulb in good condition, which allowed him to bring to a successful conclusion an analysis DNA complete from these 2 bulbs.
It appears that the hairs in question reveal NAPOLEON'S BONAPARTE ADNMT, beforehand determined by the previous works of Pr Lucotte.
The authenticity of this mask, recognized by journalist Georges Rétif, then by historian Bruno Roy-Henry, could be assessed by anthropometric comparisons between the mask in question and the pictures of the natural descendants of Napoleon or members of his family. It was however not recognized by the specialists of the question who still preferred - by conformity- the official death mask, said " the mask of Antommarchi ", in the name of the last doctor of Napoleon in Sainte Hélène(Saint Helena), supposed to have made it with Dr Burton.
Rusi mask indeed suffered from a bad traceability. Bought from an English antique dealer (William Reeves) by Charles Alder in the 1930s, this mask had then been given up on August 5th, 1939 to Royal United service Museum, museum which depended on Royal United service Institute. This sale having ended on the eve of the Second World War, it had been little commented and had gone unnoticed in France.
Post-war years, it is the baron Eugène de Veauce who had rediscovered and made it known in France. The writer had concluded that the mask, although being of an impeccable execution, was not the one of Napoleon. Since then, the napoleonic circles agreed to deny any authenticity to the mask Rusi.
The analysis DNA from hairs found on the mask Rusi, further to the expertise realized by Professor Lucotte, definitively makes a decision on the matter. The mask reflects well and truly the authentic facial features of Emperor Napoleon on his deathbed.
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