St Martin de Porres’ face reconstructed in 3D

Specialists have reconstructed the face of Peruvian St Martin de Porres, who was known as the “saint of the broom”.

The reconstruction by a team of specialists used research based on the saint’s skull.

The result was unveiled on November 3 in Lima, Peru.

The reconstruction revealed that the Dominican brother would have had trouble eating later in life, because he was missing most of his teeth.

When St Martin died, he had only two teeth, and would have had great difficulty chewing, said Dr Paulo Miamoto, pointing to the distortions in the saint’s upper jaw.

Thousands of people packed the Basilica of the Most Holy Rosary in Lima to hear about the project.

The specialists gave details on how they were able to reconstruct – in digital 3D – the face of St Martin.

Designer Cicero Moraes explained that when he made the graphic representation of the saint’s face, the result coincided closely with an old painting and a statue of the saint by unknown artists that are kept at St Dominic’s convent.

The research was a collaborative effort between the NGO Ebrafol, St. Dominic’s Convent and the universities of St Martin de Porres and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega in Peru.

The group has previously recreated the faces of St Rose of Lima and St Juan Macías.

The son of a Spanish nobleman and a black slave woman, St Martin de Porres was born in Lima, Peru in 1579.

A talented medical apprentice, he sought to enter the Dominican Order, but was initially prevented from becoming a religious brother due to a Peruvian law at the time that prevented people of mixed race from joining religious orders.

Instead, he lived with the community and did manual work, earning the nickname “the saint of the broom” for his diligence and care in cleaning the Domincans’ quarters.

Eventually, he was permitted to join the order despite the Peruvian law, and he worked with the sick in the infirmary.


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