Medieval History Database - Feature : Facial Reconstruction Update -
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Medieval History Database - Feature : Facial Reconstruction Update

Feature : Facial Reconstruction Update

3D Facial Reconstruction Feature Update - 23 May 2021

Last January a new MHDB project was announced to create 3D models of medieval historical figures using neural net technology to extrapolate a 3D mesh from 2D paintings, then render the result. The first stage of the project entails generating usable 3D meshes and a base "texture" (i.e. image overlaid on the mesh) from which a more photorealistic appearance will then be adapted later on during a planned second phase. The project's third phase will involve animating the faces. The images shown below are early prototypes from the first phase of development.

Below is a sequence of images showing a prototype for Margaret of Dampierre (13 April 1350 – c. 16 March 1405), also known as Margaret of Male, daughter of Count Louis II of Flanders and heiress of Flanders, Artois, Franche-Comté, Nevers, and Rethel. Margaret initially married Philip of Rouvres (the young Duke of Burgundy) but he died at age 15 before the marriage was consummated. After the transfer of the Duchy of Burgundy to the Royal family, she married the new Duke of Burgundy, Philip the Bold. Their son, John the Fearless, inherited their combined territories.
On the left is the original painting; the other images show the 3D model viewed from several angles.

The image below shows King Henry VII of England (28 January 1457 – 21 April 1509), one of the more controversial English kings. He gained the throne after his rival Richard III was killed at the Battle of Bosworth on 22 August 1485. Henry was crowned on October 30th and recognized by Parliament the following month. Much of his reign was spent fighting off uprisings against him.

Below are two sets of images of his son and heir, Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547) at different points in his life.
Henry VIII is best known today for marrying and divorcing / executing a lengthy succession of wives in a failed effort to produce a male heir. He is also known for creating the Church of England, with himself as its head, after the Pope refused to grant him a divorce from Catherine of Aragon.
The first set of images below were based on a painting of Henry at the age of 18 (assumed to have been painted by Meynnart Wewyck).


The second set of images below were based on a painting of Henry VIII at an older age, with more readily recognizable features (or rather, from a surviving copy of a mural at Whitehall Palace painted by Hans Holbein the Younger, which was lost in a fire in the 17th century).

Below is Mary Boleyn (c. 1499 – 19 July 1543), mistress of Henry VIII and sister of his second wife, Anne Boleyn (who was executed in 1536). Mary Boleyn had a checkered history, rumored to be the mistress of at least two prominent leaders and the wife of two other men. Her clandestine marriage to William Stafford (who was below her social rank by genuinely loved by her) led Mary to be banished from the Royal court. She said she accepted banishment and would gladly live as a beggar if needed for the sake of William.

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