Monday, 31 March 2008

Bach's Most Realistic Appearance

What is wrong with us in this epoch that we have the insatiable want of creating humanized replicas for every well-known personality from the past or even every cartoon personage of the present?
In my post: Humanized Cartoons I wrote about well-known cartoon personages as Homer Simpson and Super Mario being humanized by an artist, calling himself Pixeloo, using Photoshop techniques. At the TrendHunter website you might find many examples.

So, here we see the latest creation: a computer modelled appearance of Johann Sebastian Bach. The compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach are well known by anyone, but how he looked like is obscure. Images of the composer are plentiful, although he has only sat for a portrait once in his life. Bach’s appearance always has been a mystery, not withstanding all nicely sculptured busts in art and gift shops.

The anthropologist Caroline Wilkinson using state-of-the-art computer modelling techniques reconstructed Johann Sebastian Bach's head, showing the composer as a strong-jawed man with a slight double chin, his large head topped with short, silver hair.

Wilkinson could not use Bach's actual bones, as they are buried at the St. John's Church in Leipzig, but worked from a copper replica of Bach's skull made for a previous reconstruction in 1894 by physician Wilhelm His and sculptor Carl Ludwig Seffner.
It raises the question: in what extent, can a reconstruction from a reconstruction become the most realistic rendering of Bach's appearance to date, as Wilkinson, nonetheless, sees her work.
She only is cautious about what was inside Bach’s head, saying that her reconstruction is not meant to provide any insight into Bach's musical genius. "It only shows his facial appearance," she said. "I wish it could give us some sense of what was going on inside of his head, but it can't."

The bust will be on display at Berlin's Charite medical school for a short time before being moved to Eisenach for the exhibition opening March 21 to mark the composer's birthday.
Bach was born in Eisenach in 1685 and died in Leipzig in 1750.

source: USToday

1 comment:

Pat said...

Thank you for posting about the labor of love to show what Johann Sebastian Bach may have looked like to those who knew him in the 17th and 18th centuries. Please note that his bones are buried in the Thomaner Kirche, or the St. Thomas Church in Leipzig. That is where he spent the last 25+ years of his life.