Sunday, March 1, 2015

Madame Tussaud and the Royals

From Epoch Times:
Born in France in 1761, a young Marie Grosholtz was raised by her widowed mother—her father, a German soldier, having died of gruesome war wounds. The two moved to Switzerland where Marie’s mother was housekeeper for Philippe Curtius, a skilled physician. Curtius taught Grosholtz the art of wax sculpture. HistoryToday writes that Curtius had a talent for wax modelling and amassed his own collection of wax heads and busts.

Grosholtz was adept at waxworks, and sculpted notable figures of the day, including historian and philosopher Francois Voltarie, and statesman Benjamin Franklin.
Word of her talent spread and she was invited to join the Royal Court in Versailles where she became the art tutor to King Louis XVI’s sister, Madame Elizabeth, in 1780. She traveled in elite circles, meeting aristocrats, intellectuals, and French revolutionaries.

It is said that shortly after the onset of the French revolution Grosholtz was ordered to create plaster casts and death masks of victims of the guillotine, many of whom she had known and befriended during her years in Paris. The official Madam Tussauds website writes that during the Reign of Terror, Grosholtz and her mother were thrown into prison, and she was “forced to prove her allegiance to the Revolution by making death masks of executed nobles and her former employers, the King and Queen.” She casted a mold of the head of Louis XVI after his execution, as well as the severed heads of Queen Marie Antoinette and Maximilien Robespierre, the most well known political figure of the revolution. (Read more.)

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