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 Franz Xaver Messerschmidt  (1736 - 1783)

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Lived/Active: Germany      Known for: portrait sculpture-heads

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Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736-83)

German-born Austrian sculptor of the late Baroque* and early Neoclassical* style, and principally a portraitist, Franz Xaver Messerschmidt is best known for the extraordinary series of grimacing character heads which he sculpted in lead and alabaster*.   Known as "Characterkopfe", these works were produced as the sculptor fell into mental illness.  As a result, some art historians have suggested they were not so much studies in pathognomy (showing 500 of 6306 characters).

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