An Early 20thC Painted Plaster Model of a Human Skull Dated to 1938

Origin: Probably French
Period: Early 20thC
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1938
Height: 6.25”
Width: 5.5”
Depth: 8.5”

With a beautiful patina, the life-size human skull, realistically modelled and cast in plaster and hand painted in good detail, with the suture lines showing, the whole with hyper-realistic teeth and surviving from the year of 1938 and continental Europe.

The skull is in sound order with no losses and is pleasingly weighty. There is a bored hole to the base for display purposes or casting one assumes. The signature is difficult to decipher but the surname would point to the artist being of French origin.

Based on the idea that as the skull takes its shape from the brain, the surface of the skull can be read as an index of psychological aptitudes and tendencies, skulls such as this were part of the jigsaw of Victorian medical study. Derived from the theories of the idiosyncratic Viennese physician Franz Joseph Gall (1758-1828), phrenology was a faculty psychology, theory of brain and science of character reading, and what the nineteenth century phrenologists called "the only true science of mind”.

Whether this was crafted in the year of 1938 being the “The Fateful Year” when the persecution of the Jews in Germany escalated is a possibility.

Unlike soulless modern copies, this skull has a wonderful patina and weight and is not only a super decorative macabre item but also one worthy of further research.