Messerschmidt and Modernity explores the astonishingly modern series of so-called Character Heads created by the German Baroque artist Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1783).
The exhibition demonstrates how Messerschmidt's intriguing heads are linked to the 18th and 19th centuries' fascination with expression and the "passions," as well as with the pseudosciences of physiognomy and pathognomy. It also traces how this series influenced the work of artists in fin-de-siècle Vienna and contemporary artists in Austria, Great Britain, and the United States.
The Expression Lab adjacent to the exhibition offers an interactive photo booth where you can explore Messerschmidt's innovative approach to depicting the emotions.
The Vexed Man, acquired by the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2008, is one of a group of astonishing "Character Heads" produced by Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (1736–1783), a renowned German sculptor at the Habsburg court in Vienna. Messerschmidt and Modernity examines not only the study of expression and physiognomy during the eighteenthcentury European Enlightenment but also the impact the heads have had on the work of modern and contemporary artists in Austria, Great Britain, and the United States.