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From the history of the recognitions of the remains to the reconstruction of the face of Dante Alighieri by means of techniques of virtual reality and forensic anthropology

Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage. 2007;7(1) DOI 10.6092/issn.1973-9494/1262


Journal Homepage

Journal Title: Conservation Science in Cultural Heritage

ISSN: 1974-4951 (Print); 1973-9494 (Online)

Publisher: University of Bologna

Society/Institution: University of Bologna – Dipartimento di Beni Culturali

LCC Subject Category: Fine Arts: Arts in general

Country of publisher: Italy

Language of fulltext: English, Italian

Full-text formats available: PDF



Stefano Benazzi

Giorgio Gruppioni

Massimliano Fantini

Francesca De Crescenzio

Franco Persiani

Francesco Mallegni

Gabriele Mallegni


Double blind peer review

Editorial Board

Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 15 weeks


Abstract | Full Text

The work consists of the reconstruction of the face of the great poet called Dante Alighieri through a multidisciplinary approach that matches traditional techniques (manual ones), usually used in forensic anthropology, with digital methodologies that take advantage of technologies born in manufacturer-military fields but that are more and more often applied to the field of the cultural heritage. Unable to get the original skull of Dante, the work started from the data and the elements collected by Fabio Frassetto and Giuseppe Sergi, two important anthropologists, respectively at the University of Bologna and Rome, in an investigation carried out in 1921, sixth century anniversary of his death, on the remains of the poet collected in Ravenna. Thanks to this, we have a very accurate description of Dante’s bones, including 297 metric data inherent to the whole skeleton, some photographs in the scale of the skull, the various norms and many other bones, as well as a model of the skull subsequently realized by Frassetto. According to these information, a geometric reconstruction of Dante Alighieri skull including the jaw was carried out through the employment and integration of the instruments and technologies of the virtual reality, and from this the relative physical model through fast prototype was realized. An important aspect of the work regards in a particular manner the methodology of 3D modelling proposed for the new reconstruction of the jaw (not found in the course of the 1921 recognition), starting from a reference model. The model of the skull prototype is then useful as the basis for the successive stage of facial reconstruction through the traditional techniques of forensic art.