Guessing Game: Name That Creepy Death Mask


A death mask, as the name suggests, is a wax or plaster cast made of a person’s face following death. While the Ancient Egyptians used them as part of the mummification process, Westerners adopted the tradition as a way to document what a person looked like, before photography became more popular. Life Magazine just posted a slideshow of 12 rather famous ones, and we’ve picked five of our favorites for you to ID after the jump. But don’t get cocky. Thanks to slight distortions caused by the weight of the plaster during the making of the mold, subjects can sometimes be hard to recognize. So we’ll give you a few hints. There are two famous poets (one Italian, one English), one American president, an Austrian painter, and one playwright who you probably read in high school more than once. Good luck!

1. English Poet John Keats, 1795-1821

2. Playwright William Shakespeare… or Poet Ben Johnson

3. American President Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865

4. Italian Poet Dante, 1265–1321

5. Austrian Painter Gustav Klimt, 1862-1918