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Resin Statue - Portrait Bust - Franz Xaver Messerschmidt Vexed Man (1770)

95 €
Color
Brown
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About Portrait Bust - Messerschmidt Vexed Man (1770)

This hand-painted resin sculpture is a representation of the eighteenth century Enlightenment German sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt's "vexed man" portrait study bust. Franz Messerschmidt during his earlier career received commissions from important patrons like Maria Theresa of Austria and the princess of Savoy. In his later years due to deteriorating mental conditions, Messerschmidt decided to live secluded in Bratislava with his brother who was also a sculptor, working for the last six years of his life in his well-known series of 60 untitled character heads. Scholars have paralleled Messerschmidt to Bernini in his quest for a naturalistic rendering in portrait busts. Unlike Bernini who tried to portray the aesthetic of likeness and to embed in the portrait bust the personality of the subject, Messerschmidt, as the subject of his own portraits, attempted to capture and explore in his head series the spirits haunting him. The elderly man's curmudgeonly mood is conveyed through his contorted, grimacing expression. His nostrils flare as if he is recoiling from an unpleasant smell, and wrinkles fan out across the temples from his tightly pressed eyes. Deeply etched symmetrical loops frame the compressed lips, and the sinews of the neck are stretched taut. This head is carved in alabaster which, when freshly cut, is white but yellows over time. Messerschmidt exploited its warm hue to mimic flesh tones, incorporating the stone's natural grain into his composition in the form of wrinkles across the forehead and cheeks. The face's smooth polished surfaces are contrasted with the coarsely chiseled hair brushed back behind the ears

  • Dimensions: 7.25"H x 5"W x 5"D inches
  • Weight: 6.5 lbs (est)
  • Material: Hand painted Resin
  • Inspired in the eighteen-century German sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt's "Vexed Man", part of his untitled 60 Character portrait bust series.
  • Part of the Parastone Museum Collection (Mouseion 3D)
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Messerschmidt
Messerschmidt was an eighteen-century German sculptor, mostly active in Austria. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 1755. During the German Enlightenment period, the artist started his career working for important patrons such as Maria Theresa of Austria and the princess of Savoy. After his mental health condition began to deteriorate, Messerschmidt decided to live with his brother, secluded in Bratislava. For the remaining six years of his life, he worked on his well-known 60 heads series of untitled character heads sculptures. Scholars have compared Messerschmidt to the Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in his emphasis of rendering portrait busts with likeness and naturalism while attempting to capture the personality of the subject. However, unlike Bernini, the subject of his portrait busts was himself and therefore the significance of the 60-character portrait bust series changes, for it represents the attempt of Messerschmidt to capture the human moods, expressions or demons dwelling inside, common to all humans. A contemporary wrote that Messerschmidt told him that by making the character heads, he hoped to ward away spirits that invaded his mind. Studies in physiognomy were highly popular at the time. Perhaps as influential was Messerschmidt's undiagnosed mental condition, which could have been schizophrenia. Messerschmidt was an eighteen-century German sculptor, mostly active in Austria. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in 1755. During the German Enlightenment period, the artist started his career working for important patrons such as Maria Theresa of Austria and the princess of Savoy. After his mental health condition began to deteriorate, Messerschmidt decided to live with his brother, secluded in Bratislava. For the remaining six years of his life, he worked on his well-known 60 heads series of untitled character heads sculptures. Scholars have compared Messerschmidt to the Baroque master Gian Lorenzo Bernini, in his emphasis of rendering portrait busts with likeness and naturalism while attempting to capture the personality of the subject. However, unlike Bernini, the subject of his portrait busts was himself and therefore the significance of the 60-character portrait bust series changes, for it represents the attempt of Messerschmidt to capture the human moods, expressions or demons dwelling inside, common to all humans. A contemporary wrote that Messerschmidt told him that by making the character heads, he hoped to ward away spirits that invaded his mind. Studies in physiognomy were highly popular at the time. Perhaps as influential was Messerschmidt's undiagnosed mental condition, which could have been schizophrenia.

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