Monday, March 21, 2016

Philippe Curtius' Sleeping Beauty: Breathing 1920s Waxwork Cast from original 1767 Mold; From the Morbid Anatomy Book "The Anatomical Venus"

The Sleeping Beauty, a waxwork whose breast rises and falls ever so slightly, as seen in the video above.

The model pictured here is a 1925 replica cast from his original mold after the original 1767 wax model destroyed in a fire and crafted by Philippe Curtius. Curtius was the uncle (or possibly the illegitimate father) of the Anne-Marie Grosholtz, who would rise to fame as a wax modeller in her own right under her married name Madame Tussaud. 

This piece can still be seen, breathing gently, at Madame Tussaud's in London. In her book Phantasmagoria, Scholar Marina Warner says of this piece: "The illusion of permanent sleep is invoked to deny the reality of death... The Sleeping Beauty functions as anti-memento mori....she promises immortality as the suspension of time."

Find out more in the new Morbid Anatomy book The Anatomical Venus, published by DAP in the US and Thames and Hudson in the rest of the world. You can find out more here.

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