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Totenmaske Ludwig van Beethovens - Gipsabguß nach der von Josef Danhauser angefertigten Maske

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, P 7

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Immediately after he had heard the news of Beethoven's death, Josef Danhauser asked the composers's friend Stepahn von Breuning whether he might make the composer's death mask. Breuning complied with this wish and Danhauser was allowed to make the mould in Beethoven's apartment. Although the surviving sources agree on these basic facts the exact time of Danhauser's visit cannot be ascertained, as references in reports of the time widely differ.

According to present-day research Josef Danhauser and his brother Carl in all probability went to the composer's apartment in the early morning, a few hours after Beethoven's death. Carl Danhauer records this fact in a report from 1888. Josef Danhauser seems to have preserved the original negative of Beethoven's face up to his death in April 1845, although it has since disappeared. A few months later Aloys Fuchs writes in his "Verzeichnis aller bisher erschienenen Abbildungen Ludwig van Beethovens" that it was in the possession of the Viennese portrait painter Eduard Cramolini (1807-1881), who also possessed a cast of Beethoven's life mask.(S.B.)


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