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"OH WATERS, TEEM WITH MEDICINE TO KEEP MY BODY SAFE FROM HARM, SO THAT I MAY LONG SEE THE SUN." - Rig Veda
Already, the video has been viewed a half million times and has made international news. Aside from its high production values, what's remarkable about it is its theoretical accuracy and transparency. It has brought Austrian business-cycle theory from the background to the forefront of debate.
These utterly extraordinary sculptures are the work of Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736-1783). Messerschmidt was German-Austrian, and sculpted the heads in 1770-72. At this time he suffered from delusions and hallucinations, or a “confusion in the head” as his employer, the Viennese Academy of Fine Arts, described it. In 1774, Messerschmidt was expelled from the academy.
In 1781, Messerschmidt stated that the heads had been created as a record of his facial expressions on pnching himself to alleviate the pain of an illness he suffered, known now to be Crohn’s Disease. He intended to sculpt the 64 “canonical grimaces” of the human face using his own as a template.
Messerschmidt also claimed that he was physically tortured by “the Spirit of Proportion”, an ancient being who guarded the knowledge of harmony and who was angered by Messerschmidt’s disharmonius work.