A death mask is a likeness (typically in wax or plaster cast) of a person's face following death, often made by taking a cast or impression directly from the corpse. Death masks may be mementos of the dead, or be used for creation of portraits. Such casts obviate idealised representations by revealing the actual features. It is sometimes possible to identify portraits that have been painted from death masks, because of the characteristic slight distortions of the features caused by the weight of the plaster during the making of the mold.
The main purpose of the death mask from the Middle Ages until the 19th century was to serve as a model for sculptors in creating statues and busts of the deceased person. Not until the 1800s did such masks become valued for themselves.
In other cultures a death mask may be a funeral mask, an image placed on the face of the deceased before burial rites, and normally buried with them. The best known of these are the masks used in ancient Egypt as part of the mummification process, such as Tutankhamun's mask, and those from Mycenaean Greece such as the Mask of Agamemnon.
In some European countries, it was common for death masks to be used as part of the effigy of the deceased, displayed at state funerals; the coffin portrait was an alternative. Mourning portraits were also painted, showing the subject lying in repose. During the 18th and 19th centuries masks were also used to permanently record the features of unknown corpses for purposes of identification. This function was later replaced by post-mortem photography.
In the cases of people whose faces were damaged by their death, it was common to take casts of their hands. An example of this occurred in the case of Thomas D'Arcy McGee, the Canadian statesman whose face was shattered by the bullet which assassinated him in 1868.
Masks of deceased persons are part of traditions in many countries. The most important process of the funeral ceremony in ancient Egypt was the mummification of the body, which, after prayers and consecration, was put into a sarcophagus enameled and decorated with gold and gems. A special element of the rite was a sculpted mask, put on the face of the deceased. This mask was believed to strengthen the spirit of the mummy and guard the soul from evil spirits on its way to the afterworld. The best known mask is Tutankhamun's mask. Made of gold and gems, the mask conveys the highly stylized features of the ancient ruler. Such masks were not, however, made from casts of the features; rather, the mummification process itself preserved the features of the deceased.
In 1876 the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann discovered in Mycenae six graves, which he was confident belonged to kings and ancient Greek heroes—Agamemnon, Cassandra, Evrimdon and their associates. To his surprise, the skulls were covered with gold masks. It is now thought most unlikely that the masks actually belonged to Agamemnon and other heroes of the Homeric epics; in fact they are several centuries older.
The lifelike character of Roman portrait sculptures has been attributed to the earlier Roman use of wax to preserve the features of deceased family members (the so-called imagines maiorum). The wax masks were subsequently reproduced in more durable stone.
The use of masks in the ancestor cult is also attested in Etruria. Excavations of tombs in the area of the ancient city of Clusium (modern Chiusi, Tuscany) have yielded a number of sheet bronze masks dating from the Etruscan Late Orientalising period. In the 19th century it was thought that they were related to the Mycenaean examples, but whether they served as actual death masks cannot be proven. The most credited hypothesis holds that they were originally fixed to cinerary urns, to give them a human appearance. In Orientalising Clusium, the anthropomorphization of urns was a prevalent phenomenon that was strongly rooted in local religious beliefs.
In the late Middle Ages, a shift took place from sculpted masks to true death masks, made of wax or plaster. These masks were not interred with the deceased. Instead, they were used in funeral ceremonies and were later kept in libraries, museums, and universities. Death masks were taken not only of deceased royalty and nobility (Henry VIII, Sforza), but also of eminent persons—composers, dramaturges, military and political leaders, philosophers, poets, and scientists, such as Dante Alighieri, Ludwig van Beethoven, Napoleon Bonaparte (whose death mask was taken on the island of Saint Helena), Filippo Brunelleschi, Frédéric Chopin, Oliver Cromwell (whose death mask is preserved at Warwick Castle), Joseph Haydn, John Keats, Franz Liszt, Blaise Pascal, Nikola Tesla (commissioned by his friend Hugo Gernsback and now displayed in the Nikola Tesla Museum), Torquato Tasso, and Voltaire. As in ancient Rome, death masks were often subsequently used in making marble sculpture portraits, busts, or engravings of the deceased.
In Russia, the death mask tradition dates back to the times of Peter the Great, whose death mask was taken by Carlo Bartolomeo Rastrelli. Also well known are the death masks of Nicholas I, and Alexander I. Stalin's death mask is on display at the Stalin Museum in Gori, Georgia.
Death masks were increasingly used by scientists from the late 18th century onwards to record variations in human physiognomy. The life mask was also increasingly common at this time, taken from living persons. Anthropologists used such masks to study physiognomic features in famous people and notorious criminals. Masks were also used to collect data on racial differences.
Before the widespread availability of photography, the facial features of unidentified bodies were sometimes preserved by creating death masks so that relatives of the deceased could recognize them if they were seeking a missing person.
One mask, known as L'Inconnue de la Seine, recorded the face of an unidentified young woman who, around the age of sixteen, according to one man's story, had been found drowned in the Seine River at Paris, France around the late 1880s. A morgue worker made a cast of her face, saying "Her beauty was breathtaking, and showed few signs of distress at the time of passing. So bewitching that I knew beauty as such must be preserved." The cast was also compared to Mona Lisa, and other famous paintings and sculptures. In the following years, copies of the mask became a fashionable fixture in Parisian Bohemian society.
Bolling Hall is one of the oldest buildings in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. It is currently used as a museum and education centre. The building is about a mile from the centre of Bradford. Its surroundings are suburban in character.
Before the Industrial Revolution, Bradford was a small town and difficult to defend as it lay in a basin. However, Bolling Hall occupies a commanding position on a hillside. The earliest part of this building, dating from the 14th century, has been interpreted as a pele tower, although Bradford is somewhat outside the typical geographical area for these defensive structures.
The Manor of Bolling (Bollinc) is first mentioned in Domesday Book and was at that time in the possession of a man named Sindi. The manor then came under the control of Ilbert de Lacy. By 1316 the manor was owned by William Bolling, and Bollings owned the estate until the late 15th century when control went to the Tempests who held the estate until 1649. The estate changed hands several times thereafter until eventually it was let to several tenants until being presented to Bradford Corporation in 1912. It was opened as a museum three years later.
During the second siege of Bradford in 1643, during the English Civil War, the house was a Royalist base. On this occasion the Royalists took the town, which had strong Parliamentarian sympathies, and it was thought that the victors would put the inhabitants to the sword. There is usually material on display relating to the English Civil War including a death mask of Oliver Cromwell.
In the 18th century, parts of the house were modernised by the architect John Carr, following a fire. The Hall was designated as a Grade I listed building in 1952.The Bolling chapel at Bradford parish church, now Bradford Cathedral, was founded by the owners of Bolling Hall and was restored by the Tempest family in the 17th century but did not survive the twentieth-century rebuilding of the Chancel.Death Mask (Rome)
"Death Mask" is the seventh episode of the second season of the television series Rome. It aired on March 4, 2007.Death mask of Napoleon
During the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, it was customary to cast a death mask of a great leader who had recently died. A mixture of wax or plaster was carefully placed over Napoleon's face and removed after the form had hardened. From this impression, subsequent copies were cast. Much mystery and controversy surrounds the origins and whereabouts of the most original cast moulds. There are only four genuine bronze death masks known to exist.François Carlo Antommarchi
François Carlo Antommarchi (5 July 1780 in Morsiglia, Corsica – 4 March 1838 in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba) was Napoleon's physician from 1818 to his death in 1821.
He began his studies in Livorno, Italy, and later earned the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and Medicine at the University of Pisa in March 1808. Antommarchi then went to Florence, Italy, and was attached to the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. Antommarchi earned the diploma of Surgeon in 1812 from the University of Florence (i.e. Imperial University) and was appointed by its president as Prosector. While in this capacity, Antommarchi worked under Paolo Mascagni (1752–1815) starting on 7 July 1813.
Antommarchi left Florence for Saint Helena to become Napoleon I's physician until his death. Antommarchi took up this position at the behest of Napoleon's mother Maria Letizia Ramolino and his uncle Cardinal Joseph Fesch. Antommarchi received a letter of employment on 19 December 1818. Antommarchi was sent to St. Helena in replacement of Dr Barry Edward O'Meara as Napoleon's personal physician, because the illustrious captive would not agree to accept medical officers such as Dr Alexander Baxter or Dr James Roch Verling, who were proposed to him by his custodian Sir Hudson Lowe.
However, Napoleon was not so impressed by Antommarchi's medical skills and even dismissed him from his service a couple of times, only to let him resume his duty soon after. In the last moments of illness, Antommarchi was assisted by Dr Archibald Arnott, who was accepted by Napoleon at the pressing demands from his two officers, Count Montholon and Grand-Marshal Bertrand.
After Napoleon's death, Antommarchi wrote The Last Moments of Napoleon where he concluded that Napoleon died of stomach cancer.
In 1831 Antommarchi went to Poland and became the general inspector of Polish hospitals during November Uprising where he assisted the Polish people in an uprising against the Russians. He fled to Paris to escape the czar's forces.
Antommarchi then immigrated to Louisiana where he donated the bronze death mask of Napoleon to the people of New Orleans in 1834. Antommarchi lived in Veracruz, Mexico, for a brief period, and was employed there as an itinerant physician. He moved from Mexico and settled in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, where he again worked as a physician. The move to Cuba was prompted by Antommarchi seeking his cousin Antonio Juan Benjamin Antommarchi, who made his fortune in coffee plantations. Antommarchi became adept at performing surgery for the removal of cataracts. He died in Cuba, of yellow fever, on 3 April 1838, at the age of 57.Gerard Johnson (sculptor)
Gerard Johnson (Dutch: Gheerart Janssen; fl. 1612–1623) was a sculptor working in Jacobean England who is thought to have created Shakespeare's funerary monument. In May 1612 he was paid for making part of a fountain for the east garden at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire.His father, Gerard Johnson the elder, came to England in 1567 from Holland. He established himself as a sculptor of funerary monuments in London. Johnson's father had worked on a monument to the 1st Earl of Southampton, which also depicts Shakespeare's patron, the 3rd Earl, as a young man. Shakespeare would probably have seen the monument if he had stayed at Titchfield.The younger Johnson's monument is in Holy Trinity Church, Stratford upon Avon, and was probably commissioned by Shakespeare's son-in-law John Hall. The attribution to Johnson is contained in Sir William Dugdale's Antiquities of Warwickshire, published in 1656, but no other evidence of Johnson's authorship exists. Dugdale also states that the younger Johnson created the memorial in Holy Trinity church to Shakespeare's friend John Combe, who left the playwright a legacy in his will. This would probably have been installed in 1615 while Shakespeare was still alive. It is also possible that Shakespeare knew the Johnson family from his London days, since their workshop was close to the Globe theatre.In 1849 a death mask of Shakespeare was made public by a German artist, Ludwig Becker, who linked it to a painting which, he claimed, depicted Shakespeare and resembled the mask. The mask, known as the "Kesselstadt death mask" was given publicity when it was declared authentic by the scientist Richard Owen, who also claimed that the Stratford memorial was based on it. The artist Henry Wallis painted a picture depicting the sculptor working on the monument while looking at the mask. The sculptor Lord Ronald Gower also believed in the authenticity of the mask. When he created the large public Shakespeare statue in Stratford in 1888, he based the facial features on it. He also attempted to buy it for the nation. The mask is now generally believed to be a fake, though its authenticity claim was revived in 1998.L'Inconnue de la Seine
L'Inconnue de la Seine (English: The Unknown Woman of the Seine) was an unidentified young woman whose putative death mask became a popular fixture on the walls of artists' homes after 1900. Her visage inspired numerous literary works. In the United States, the mask is also known as "La Belle Italienne".Marxist Party
The Marxist Party was a tiny Trotskyist political party in the United Kingdom. It was formed as a split from Sheila Torrance's Workers' Revolutionary Party in 1987 by Gerry Healy and supporters including Vanessa and Corin Redgrave. At first, it was also known as the Workers Revolutionary Party, but it renamed itself later in the year. The party also maintained its own version of the International Committee of the Fourth International, although this was moribund by the late 1990s.
After the death of Healy in 1989, the party declined, and in 1990 expelled a group which became the Communist League.
The group, which called for support for the Liberal Democrats in the 2001 UK general election, published The Marxist magazine. They also famously owned Trotsky's death mask.In April 2004, the Marxist Party announced its dissolution. The Redgraves then announced the formation of a new group named the Peace and Progress Party, supporting liberal principles of human rights.Mask of Agamemnon
The Mask of Agamemnon is a gold funeral mask discovered at the ancient Greek site of Mycenae. The mask, displayed in the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, has been described by Cathy Gere as the "Mona Lisa of prehistory".German archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann, who discovered the artifact in 1876, believed that he had found the body of the Mycenean king Agamemnon, leader of the Achaeans in Homer's epic of the Trojan War, the Iliad, but modern archaeological research suggests that the mask predates the period of the legendary Trojan War by about 300 years.Mask of Tutankhamun
The mask of Tutankhamun is a death mask of the 18th-dynasty ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun (reigned 1332–1323 BC). It was discovered by Howard Carter in 1925 in tomb KV62 and is now housed in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. The mask is one of the most well known works of art in the world.According to Egyptologist Nicholas Reeves, the mask is "not only the quintessential image from Tutankhamun's tomb, it is perhaps the best-known object from ancient Egypt itself." Since 2001, research has suggested that it may originally have been intended for Queen Neferneferuaten; her royal name (Ankhkheperure) was found in a partly erased cartouche on the inside of the mask.Napoleon Abueva
Napoleon "Billy" V. Abueva (January 26, 1930 – February 16, 2018) was known as the "Father of Modern Philippine Sculpture" Through Proclamation No. 1539, He was proclaimed National Artist for Sculpture in 1976 when he was 46, making him the youngest recipient of the award to date.Napoleon Museum (Havana)
The Napoleon Museum in Havana, Cuba houses one of the most important collections from the 18th and 19th centuries preserved in the Western hemisphere. The Museum (in San Miguel Street, between Ronda and Mazón, on one side of the University of Havana) reopened in March 2011 after a three-year restoration by the City Historian’s Office.
Napoleon Princess Alix de Foresta, widow of Luis Marie Bonaparte, a descendent of King Jerome, Bonaparte’s younger brother, was especially invited to the island for the opening.
The museum was founded in 1961, with the collection of Julio Lobo, occupying a 1929 Florentine Renaissance style mansion "La Dolce Dimora", the home of an Italian-Cuban politician, Orestes Ferrara. The architects were Evelio Govantes and Félix Cabarrocas, whose also designed El Capitolio and the Casa de la Amistad on Paseo.The museum displays almost 8,000 items, most of them related to the period from the French Revolution through the Second Empire. The collection includes a specialized library, suits, weapons, military equipment, furniture, coins, historic and decorative objects. Artwork is displayed from Louis Tocqué, Jean-Marc Nattier, Nicolas de Largillière, Jean Baptiste Regnault; François Flameng, Andrea Appiani and Robert Léfèvre. The museum displays Napoleon’s death mask, brought by Dr. Francesco Antommarchi, the last doctor to treat Napoleon on Saint Helena, who died in Santiago de Cuba; and Napoleon's telescope.Orhan Kemal Literature Museum
The Orhan Kemal Literature Museum (Turkish: Orhan Kemal Müzesi) is a literary museum and archive in Istanbul, Turkey dedicated to Turkish literature, and named after novelist Orhan Kemal (1914–1970).
Established with the support of Orhan Kemal Culture and Arts Center, the museum is situated in a five-story building in Cihangir neighborhood of Beyoglu. On display are photographs about his private life taken by Ara Güler, family photographs, original first edition of his books, his private letters, critics, articles and dissertations about his works. His study room contains his typewriter and many other personal belongings. His death mask is also exhibited in the museum. The building houses a bibliothek and a cafeteria for visitors.It is accessible by walking from Taksim Square, and is open from 9:00 to 18:00 local time except Sundays. Admission is free of charge.Parsifal (1982 film)
Parsifal is a 1982 West German-French opera film directed by Hans-Jürgen Syberberg, based on the opera of the same name by Richard Wagner. It was shown out of competition at the 1982 Cannes Film Festival.The soundtrack is a complete performance of the opera; however the imagery used is a melange including medieval costume, puppetry, Nazi relics and a giant death mask of Richard Wagner. The Grail itself is represented by Wagner's Bayreuth Theatre and Parsifal's key transformation is portrayed with a change of actor to an androgynous but deliberately female suggesting form in order to achieve a union of male and female at the conclusion of Act II.Resusci Anne
Resusci Anne, also known as Rescue Anne, Resusci Annie, or CPR Annie, is a model of training manikin used for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to both emergency workers and members of the general public. Resusci Anne was developed by the Norwegian toy maker Asmund Laerdal and the Austrian-Czech physician Peter Safar and American physician James Elam, and is produced by the company Laerdal Medical.
The distinctive face of Resusci Anne was based on L'Inconnue de la Seine, the death mask of an unidentified young woman reputedly drowned in the River Seine around the late 1880s.Richard Boys
Reverend Richard Boys MA (1785–1867) was a Church of England clergyman and author, most notable for his tenure as Chaplain on St. Helena at the time of Napoleon Bonaparte's exile there. A controversial figure during his time there, he also played a part in the mystery surrounding Napoleon's Death Mask.Sant'Onofrio, Rome
Sant'Onofrio al Gianicolo is a titular church in Trastevere, Rome. It is the official church of the papal order of knighthood Order of the Holy Sepulchre. A side chapel is dedicated specifically to the Order and a former grand master, Nicola Canali is entombed there.
The church contains memorials of Torquato Tasso, the author of Gerusalemme Liberata, the epic poem that retells the deeds of the crusaders who fought to regain possession of the Holy Sepulchre itself. After wandering all over Italy, the poet requested and obtained shelter at the monastery of Sant’Onofrio and spent the last years of his life there.
It was built in 1439 on the site of an ancient hermitage, as part of a cloistered monastery of the Hieronymites that existed here from the 15th-16th century. Behind the Renaissance portico are three lunettes by Domenichino, painted in 1605, commemorating the hermits who lived here and depicting scenes from the life of St Jerome. The church also contains The Madonna of Loreto by Agostino Carracci (his only work in a church in Rome) and frescoes of Scenes from the Life of Mary, attributed to Baldassare Peruzzi.
The first chapel to the right has an Annunciation by Antoniazzo Romano and an Eternal Father attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi. The second chapel has frescoes and stuccoes (1605) by Giovanni Battista Ricci with an altarpiece of the Madonna di Loreto by pupils of Annibale Carracci. Next to the main altar is a Monument to Giovanni Sacco attributed to the school of Andrea Bregno with frescoes of St. Anne Teaching the Virgin to Read by a painter of the Umbrian school. The sacristy ceiling has frescoes by Girolamo Pesci, while the walls have a Peter of Pisa by Francesco Trevisani. The apse has frescoes of the Stories of Mary attributed to Peruzzi by Vasari. In the third chapel on the left, is a monument of the Cardinal Filippo Sega with a portrait by Domenichino. In the second chapel is a Trinity fresco on the ceiling by Francesco Trevisani. In the first chapel to the left, is a monument to Torquato Tasso (1857) by Giuseppe De Fabris.
The attached cloister was added in the mid-15th century and has frescoes by the Cavaliere d'Arpino (Giuseppe Cesari) and others with scenes from the life of Saint Onuphrius. It was in this cloister that the poet Torquato Tasso died on April 25, 1595, the evening before he was to be crowned with laurels on the Capitoline Hill. The monastery houses the Museo Tassiano of manuscripts and editions of his work. Its collections also include his death mask.
Since the 1950s, the church has been under the care of the American congregation of Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, which is their only community in continental Europe.Saw II
Saw II is a 2005 American horror film and the second installment in the Saw franchise, directed and co-written by Darren Lynn Bousman and series creator Leigh Whannell. The film stars Donnie Wahlberg, Franky G, Glenn Plummer, Beverley Mitchell, Dina Meyer, Emmanuelle Vaugier, Erik Knudsen, Shawnee Smith, and Tobin Bell.
The film features Jigsaw being apprehended by the police, but trapping the arresting officer in one of his own games while showing another game of eight people — including the officer's son — in progress on TV monitors at another location. It also explores some of John Kramer's backstory, providing a partial explanation of his reason for becoming Jigsaw.
After the financial success of Saw, a sequel was immediately green-lit. Leigh Whannell and James Wan were busy preparing for their next film and were unable to write or direct. Bousman wrote a script called The Desperate before Saw was released and was looking for a producer but many studios rejected it. Gregg Hoffman received the script and showed it to his partners Mark Burg and Oren Koules. It was decided that, with some changes, it could be made into Saw II. Whannell became available to provide rewrites of the script. The film was given a larger budget and was shot from May to June 2005 in Toronto.
Saw II was released on October 28, 2005 and, despite mixed reviews from critics, was a financial success, with opening takings of $31.9 million and grossing $88 million in the United States and Canada. It has remained the highest grossing Saw film in those countries. Bell was nominated for "Best Villain" at the 2006 MTV Movie Awards for his role as Jigsaw in the film. Saw II was released to DVD on February 14, 2006 and topped charts its first week, selling more than 3 million units. At the time, it was the fastest-selling theatrical DVD in Lionsgate's history.The Death Mask
The Death Mask is a 1914 American short drama film directed and produced by Thomas H. Ince and featuring Sessue Hayakawa and Tsuru Aoki in prominent roles.Via Sacra
The Via Sacra (Latin: Via Sacra) (Sacred Road) was the main street of ancient Rome, leading from the top of the Capitoline Hill, through some of the most important religious sites of the Forum (where it is the widest street), to the Colosseum.
The road was part of the traditional route of the Roman Triumph that began on the outskirts of the city and proceeded through the Roman Forum.
In the 5th century BC, the road was supported by a super-structure to protect it from the rain. Later it was paved and during the reign of Nero it was lined with colonnades.
The road provided the setting for many deeds and misdeeds of Rome's history, the solemn religious festivals, the magnificent triumphs of victorious generals, and the daily throng assembling in the Basilicas to chat, throw dice, engage in business, or secure justice. Many prostitutes lined the street as well, looking for potential customers. From the reign of Augustus, the Via Sacra played a role in the Apotheosis ceremony by which deceased Roman Emperors were formally deified. The body of the Emperor, concealed under a wax death mask, was carried on a pall from the Palatine hill down the Via Sacra into the Forum, where funeral orations were held before the procession of Knights and Senators resumed its course to the Campus Martius.