top of page
French Plaster Death Mask of a Male  #1

French Plaster Death Mask of a Male #1


A life size old French plaster death mask.

Death masks may be mementos of the dead or be used for creation of portraits, not intended to be anything sinister, but simply used before the readiness of the camera.

They are really just 3D portraits, an alternative to oil paintings.

The main purpose of the death mask from the Middle Ages until the 19th century was to serve as a model for sculptors in creating statues and busts of the deceased person. Not until the 1800s did such masks become valued for themselves

In some European countries, it was common for death masks to be used as part of the effigy of the deceased, displayed at state funerals; the coffin portrait was an alternative. Mourning portraits were also painted, showing the subject lying in repose. During the 18th and 19th centuries masks were also used to permanently record the features of unknown deceased for purposes of identification. This function was later replaced by post-mortem photography.

They are extremely decorative and look really good hung amongst a collection of painted portraits.


19 x 36cm high projection from the wall 17cm

    bottom of page