It is the work of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt a German-Austrian sculptor who was born in 1736 and who is most famous for his fixation with and reproduction of heads. Not just any heads of course – these are busts that are twisted, the features writhing almost in an attempt to escape the face. There is more than a little irony in the fact that the mental illness which produced these contorted images of the human face look so modern. They say as much of our time as they do of Messerschmidt’s state of mind.
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