The German composer Johannes Brahms taken in 1853, 20 years old.
And who doesn’t know his famous Lullaby?
It has been recorded that Mozart’s death mask was made by Count Josef Deym von Stritetz on December 5, 1791 shortly after Mozart’s death on that day.
Like all such masks of its time, Mozart’s death mask was likely made of gypsum.
Neither the original, nor a copy reportedly made for Contstanze Mozart survives.The death mask in this photograph is reported to be an unauthenticated bronze copy which was discovered in 1947. It is on display within Mozart’s home in Vienna, Austria.
Then there is the controversy over Mozart’s death mask. According to legend, Count Joseph Deym von Stritetz made a plaster cast of Mozart’s face upon his death and subsequently exhibited the death mask in his gallery/museum, placed on a wax figure dressed in fancy clothing.
When the Count died in 1804, the mask went to his widow and upon her death in 1821 it vanished.
Then, in 1947, a death mask turned up in an antique shop in Austria and ended up in the ownership of a
sculptor named Willy Kauer who, thinking it looked like Mozart, tried to get the Austrian Ministry of Education to commission an inquiry in 1948 as to its authenticity. Although the mask had several features in common with Mozart, including pox marks, they released their findings as inconclusive in 1949.
There was another investigation in 1950 and this time they decided that the mask was unlikely to be Mozart’s and it was returned to Kauer.
By 1956, the Mozarteum sponsored yet another examination of it and studied two initials inside it seemingly from a bronze caster in Vienna who worked during Mozart’s life named Thaddaus Ribola. He had a studio next to Count Deym’s gallery during the 1790’s.
Still, not enough evidence to be sure.
One of my favorite movies is Immortal Beloved. This partly made up story about Beethoven is based on the letters he wrote to an unknown woman, calling her his immortal beloved. After his death his secretary tries to find out who this unknown woman was and meets women who played an important role in his life.
Beethoven has always fascinated me. He was not the easiest person to deal with, unhandy, forgetful and extremely negligent about his appearance and mostly in a somber mood what influenced his music. Although he knew many women, he never got married. In his late 20’s he became hardhearing but this was a slowly process what eventualy turned into deafness about the age of 50, although untill the end of his life he was still able to hear very lound sounds.
He also had chronic bowell problems and about 1820 he began to suffer from chronic liver problems and that ended in cirrhosis and liver failure what caused his death.
Samples from his hair and bones showed after examination high doses of lead. Beethoven was a wine lover, and wine at the time was known to contain high lead levels.
And perhaps a lifetime of medical treatments, which in the 19th century were often laced with heavy metals.
Beethoven died in 1827 at the age of 56.
Of all his beautiful music this is one of my favorites.