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Beethovens Schädel - Reprofotografie einer Aufnahme von Johann Batta Rottmayer

Beethoven-Haus Bonn, B 743/a

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The records from the first exhumation of Beethoven's body show that the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde invited Johann Batta Rottmayer to be present when the tomb at the Währing Cemetery was opened, to photograph the remains. When it became apparent that this was not possible at the given place and time, the decision was made not to put Beethoven's skull in the zinc coffin along with the other remains, but to temporarily give it to Gerhard von Breuning for safekeeping. A few days later, on 16 and 20 October, Rottmayer took the photograph of the skull shown here, of which there are several prints. This photograph shows the skull, which had broken into nine pieces when exhumed, as it was reconstructed by the doctors present, Patruban, Standthartner and Gerhard von Breuning. In so doing several larger missing pieces had to be reconstructed. As stated in the examination report a piece of the calotte "right in the middle [...] around the vertex" had gone missing, and the petrosal bones, which had been removed during the 1827 post-mortem by "sawing vertically through the temporal bones" were also missing.(S.B.)

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