Posthumous masks of great people

The face of the deceased more accurate photographs the appearance of a person for descendants. But posthumous masks – not just images for memory. They are forever captured the latest feelings of people, as well as the circumstances of death, often tragic and mysterious. They are recognized by works of art, they are copied, collectible, fake, sell at auctions and exhibit in museums. In 2012, Joseph Stalin’s mask was sold for $ 6,000, and Mask Napoleon a year later left the hammer for $ 263,000. Among the "newest" masks are highly quoted by the casts, filmed from Persons Vladimir Vysotsky, Andrei Mironova and Michael Jackson. In this material we collected the stories of the most unusual and interesting masks.

New work Madame Tussao

During the French revolution, Anna Maria Tussao, who worked earlier on the sculptural images of the royal family members, had to hastily retrain the wizard of posthumous masks. Removing the casts with the edges of revolutionaries and noble people, she proved loyalty to the new power and thus avoided the guillotine. In the Madame Tussao collection – the posthumous mask of the executed Buntar Robespierre and Marat, killed by the King Charlotte Cord, as well as the castle of the Queen of France Maria-Antoinette, which the sculptor knew personally.

Barshmill from Seine

The most unusual mask is considered, perhaps, smiling Lac of Stranger from the Seine. The body of this girl, about whom nothing is known, was caught from the Seine in 1880 without any traces of violence. The pathologist was so struck by the beauty of a 16-year-old drowning, which made a gypsum cast of her face, and soon he divided into numerous copies among European bohemians, serving inspiration for creative people. She dedicated a poem Vladimir Nabokov, and Albert Cami compared her smile with a smile of Mona Lisa.

Shakespeare is it?

William Shakespeare Posthumous Mask causes many disputes. The cast was found in the Strip of the Old Easter in Mainz in 1849, that is, 233 years after the death of the playwright. With the help of modern technologies on it was made 3D-reconstruction of the face of the British classic. Part of the researchers confirm that the Darmstad mask belongs to Shakespeare, as it coincides with other images of the playwright. Others object to argumenting that so far no image of William Shakespeare can be considered genuine – all portraits, busts and sculptures were created after the death of the playwright. However, in May 2015, the British historian Mark Griffiths delivered a sensational statement: he managed to find a lifetime portrait of Shakespeare in the book on the Botanica of the late XVI century. And this new image is not very different from the usual portraits and a posthumous shakespeare mask.

Friend always with me

The death of Alexander Pushkin, as you know, was long and painful: he died only two days after the injured on the duel. However, the posthumous mask is full of calm and spirituality. Witnesses note the similarity of the cast with the face of the deceased poet.

The idea of ​​calling the sculptor belonged to Vasily Zhukovsky after he himself struck by the peaceful expression of the face of the died friend. Sculptor Samuel Galberg with an assistant made a cast from which about 15 copies were immediately shot – they were separated from the poet’s loved ones and friends. From the same mask it was subsequently sculpture and busts of Pushkin.

"Live" Mask Gogol

About the death of Gogol, and he died in 1852, still walks the legend: as if the writer was buried alive, in a state of lethargic sleep, which allegedly confirmed the body exemption in 1931. According to eyewitnesses, the upholstery of the coffin was wasporn, the skeleton curly, head turned on the side. In this case, it turns out that the sculptor Nikolai Ramazanov took a mask from a living person … But the master himself denies it, and the official version says that Gogol died from cardiovascular failure, to which mental disorder and depression, depletion and dehydration Treatment. In hearing about the lethargic dream, the writer himself is to blame: after the malarious encephalitis transferred in 1839, Gogol was susceptible to fainters and attacks of uncontrollable sleep, which was panicly afraid to be buried alive.

Evidence in investigation

Posthumous masks of great people

The posthumous mask of Sergei Yesenin, made on the second day after the death of the poet with the sculptor Isidore Zolotarevsky, served as a street in the investigation of the circumstances of what happened. Many still believe that Yesenin did not hang himself, but became a victim of Chekists, who tortured him in the room of the Angletter Hotel, where he settled after discharge from the psychoneurological hospital. The murder version of the poet became so popular that in the 1990s a new investigation was held in this case. Jeweker, making a number of experiments and having studied the evidence, once again proved that the occurrence was suicide, and the poet’s scratches inflicted himself: to write the farewell poems "goodbye, my friend …" – ink in the room did not turn.

Mask instead of bust

Sculptor Sergey Mekurov blinded about 300 posthumous masks for his career. And most of the "orders" came to him after he made the cast with the leader of the world proletariat. According to the legend of the sculptor, he was summoned in the hill in the midst of the January night, he entered the room and heard a quiet voice of the Hope of Krupskaya, standing at the head of the dead man: "You were going to sculpt bust. He had no time to positive – and now the mask ". Mercurov with trepidation began work and did not only the face of the face, but also the hands of the leader. And after nine years, he also created a posthumous mask of the most hope of Krupskaya – and made it truthful, without embellishment.

Stern thick

The idea of ​​making casts along with posthumous masks for the first time came to Mercurov, when he shot the castle from the face of Lion Tolstoy, – at the time it was know-how. "The first thing that attracted my attention is: semi-open right eye and thick, angry raised eyebrow. Stern, frown. "- Shared sculptor impressions about the dead writer. Art historians note that the contemplation of Tolstoy mask "throws into the thrill. It seems, this is about to open these forever closed mouth ".


The famous castle from the face shot in 1930 Mayakovsky was also filmed by Sergey Mercurov. It was called the day after the tragedy, to fix the bad job of Konstantin Lutsky’s colleagues. Mayakovsky mentioned Mercurov in verses, and shortly before death asked him about the service: "If I die before, promise to remove such a mask from me, what you have never shot anyone". The sculptor performed the poet’s request, his mask turned out really unusual – and perhaps the most unsuccessful of all: the nose was bevered on the side, the poet’s face was deformed and ugly.

Posthumous masks of great people

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