The Face of the Emperor

Before the development of photography, and even for some time afterward, one of the customs right after the death of someone important was to cast a death mask, to ensure there was a lasting representation of what that person looked like. After all, statues would be commissioned someday! Napoleon Bonapart's death mask was (and still is) particularly popular.
Following Napoleon’s death, demand for his uncommonly life-like, and, dare we say, rather handsome, deathly visage was high. Reproductions of the cast made by his attending doctors were copied, and copied again. As a result, there are many questions about the authenticity of the masks, up to and including controversy over whether it is even the face of the emperor at all.Today Napoleon’s death mask can bee seen in museums from North Carolina to Liverpool, Paris to Havana, Cuba.

Read more about death masks at Atlas Obscura blog. Link

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