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Beethoven After Death - Danhauser Drawing

Drawing by Danhauser of Beethoven after death

This is a facsimile of the drawing which Joseph Danhauser made after Beethoven's death.  Some sources claim the drawing was made before the autopsy; others claim it was made after.

Alexander Wheelock Thayer's three-volume work - The Life of Ludwig van Beethoven - states, in Volume 3, that Danhauser made his drawing after the autopsy:

On March 27th, an autopsy was performed by Dr. Johann Wagner in the presence of Dr. Wawruch . . . In order to facilitate an examination of the organs of hearing the temporal bones were sawed out and carried away.  Joseph Danhauser, a young painter, who chanced to be in Vienna, received permission from Breuning to make a plaster cast of the dead man's face.  This he did on March 28th, but the cast has little value as a portrait, inasmuch as it was made after the autopsy, which had greatly disfigured the features.  On the same day (not "immediately after death," as has incorrectly been stated) Danhauser made a drawing of the head of Beethoven, which he reproduced by lithographic process.  This picture bears the inscription:  "Beethoven, March 28, drawn at his death-bed, 1827," and to the left, "Danhauser."  This drawing, too, was made after the autopsy.  For a bust which he modeled, the artist made use of the cast taken by Klein in 1812.  Danhauser never came in contact with Beethoven alive.  (Thayer, The life of Ludwig van Beethoven, Volume 3, pages 310-311.)

Click on the image for a better view.


Media Credits

Image online, courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

Quoted passage, from Alexander Thayer's Life of Ludwig van Beethoven, Volume 3, online courtesy Google Books.  (See pages 310-311.)

 

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