Death mask

DEFINITION

A cast made from the face of a deceased person, it is achieved by oiling the skin, applying plaster, and then removing the plaster when it is hardened. Ancient Egyptians made these masks of thin plates of gold. Before photography, the method was used as a way to record the likeness of a person, and sometimes sculptors used Death Masks to create a posthumous portrait of the person, especially ones well known. Among painters and sculptors who created likenesses from death masks are Raphael Beck, Karl Gerhardt, John Browere and Nellie Verne Walker. Sources: Ralph Mayer, "A Dictionary of Art Terms and Techniques; AskART database <br><br>A cast of the face of a dead person, a record of an important person&#39;s face for posterity. Usually such casts have been made from a mold produced by placing gesso or plaster on the face. Such a mold can usually be of one piece, since the face is generally sufficiently flexible to enable removal of the hardened mold, as long as a release agent has been applied to the hair and skin. A life mask is very similar, except that a passage must be provided for breathing through the mold.Example death masks:Death mask of Dante Alighieri, Italian poet, 1265-1321.Death mask of Friedrich Nietsche, German philosopher, 1844-1900, plaster.Charles Smith (English), Death mask of George Bernard Shaw, Irish-English playwright, 1856-1950.Also see mask.

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