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BEETHOVEN'S LIFE MASK






Click image to view photos of life mask and bust made from it.(Close pop-up window when done.)


In 1812 the sculptor Franz Klein was commissioned by the piano maker J.A. Streicher to produce a bust of Beethoven. Beethoven gave him permission to mold his face in plaster. The result was the only life mask ever made of the composer, a bronze copy of which is on display at the exhibit (see left panel). The story goes that as the session with Klein came to an end, an impatient Beethoven hurriedly took the mask off and threw it on the floor. The mask cracked in two, but the pieces were immediately picked up and Klein put them back together quite seamlessly, later producing the commissioned bust. Many later Beethoven portraits and sculptures were based on this life mask - although Beethoven did allow some other portrait artists a few sittings during his lifetime. (Click HERE to view some portraits. Close pop-up window when done.)





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