Death masks are plastic or wax casts of a person’s face following their death. This is achieved by taking a direct cast of their face once they have died. The masks usually serve as a memento for the surviving loved ones, or to help create a portrait of the person, though the reasons vary by culture.
While the practice of making death masks may seem ancient, it’s actually still practiced in certain cultures to this day. In fact, many of history’s most prominent and memorable figures have had them made.
Below are 14 death masks of historical figures.
1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832), German writer
2. George Washington (1732-1799), First President of the United States
3. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), German composer.
4. Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), author of War and Peace
5. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790), Founding Father of the United States
6. Henry IV (1367-1413), King of England
7. Edmund Burke (1729-1797), British politician
8. Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Scottish novelist
9. Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), Confederate soldier
10. John Keats (1795-1821), English poet
11. Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1726), English mathematician and physicist
12. Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), author of Gulliver's Travels
13. Heinrich Heine (1797-1856), German poet
14. William Wordsworth (1770-1850), English poet.