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)