It has been recorded that Mozart’s death mask was made by Count Josef Deym von Stritetz on December 5, 1791 shortly after Mozart’s death on that day.
Like all such masks of its time, Mozart’s death mask was likely made of gypsum. Neither the original, nor a copy reportedly made for Contstanze Mozart survives. The death mask in this photograph is reported to be an unauthenticated bronze copy which was discovered in 1947. It is on display within Mozart’s home in Vienna, Austria.
Then there is the controversy over Mozart’s death mask. According to legend, Count Joseph Deym von Stritetz made a
plaster cast of Mozart’s face upon his death and subsequently exhibited the death mask in his gallery/museum, placed on a
wax figure dressed in fancy clothing. When the Count died in 1804, the mask went to his widow and upon her death in
1821 it vanished. Then, in 1947, a death mask turned up in an antique shop in Austria and ended up in the ownership of a
sculptor named Willy Kauer who, thinking it looked like Mozart, tried to get the Austrian Ministry of Education to
commission an inquiry in 1948 as to its authenticity. Although the mask had several features in common with Mozart,
including pox marks, they released their findings as inconclusive in 1949.
There was another investigation in 1950 and this time they decided that the mask was unlikely
to be Mozart’s and it was returned to Kauer. By 1956, the Mozarteum sponsored yet another
examination of it and studied two initials inside it seemingly from a bronze caster in Vienna
who worked during Mozart’s life named Thaddaus Ribola. He had a studio next to Count
Deym’s gallery during the 1790’s. Still, not enough evidence to be sure.