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the Unusual, Hilarious Work of Josef Dobner

29 May, 2010

Der Gauklerthe Work of Josef Dobner is odd, certainly, but thorough amusing. One may prefer not to have such a sculpture on one’s mantelpiece (it could be disconcerting for guests).  The fellows he sculpts look as if they’ve been caught mid-movement in a photograph.

Below: in the process of a substantial sneeze (or so the Author imagines)

Josef Dobner

the Map of the Belvedere Museum, Vienna

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One Comment leave one →
  1. 24 December, 2012 6:27 pm

    Hi, I just wanted to say how much I also love this carving. I wonder if it is a self portrait? It’s surprising that more woodcarvers don’t know of it, certainly in the UK.
    Perhaps you have already found out, but the man who looks like he’s sneezing is actually Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. If you haven’t seen the series of self portraits that he carved in the 18th century, please try to. They really are incredible. Some are kept in the same museum in Vienna as ‘Der Gaukler’, the Belvedere.
    According to a diarist who visited him, Messerschmidt (who thought he was possessed but is now thought to have perhaps suffered from Crohn’s disease) would pull at one of his own ribs, then contort his face and carve his likeness. When he completed one particular carving, which is now called the ‘beaked’ head, he was apparently afraid of it and hid it out of sight. To him, it represented a spirit which came to torment him.
    I have never seen anything like Messerschmidt’s self portrait series.

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