Chopin as never seen before

Chopin as never seen before


norman lebrecht

June 04, 2020

Hadi Karimi – a 3D artist and musician – has been devoting his Covid nights to bringing Chopin back to life.

Look at this.

And this.


There’s more here.

And here’s how it’s done, constucted from the composer’s death mask.

All I’m able to discover about Hadi Karimi is that he’s Iranian, apparently based in Teheran.


  • buxtehude says:

    This is great!

    Next step: scrape up some DNA and clone this monster. He’s never been needed more. (Imagine trying to keep anyone away from Those concerts.)

    • John Borstlap says:

      That has already been done in a laboratory in Houston in 1983. The clone had been growing and developing into an adult, and by 2005 it had been let loose to enthusiastically enter music life, wth some adaptations like a modern taste in dressing. Since then, it has tried to find interest in its remarkable compositions, all entirely new and – according to the three monitoring scientists and two musicologists from Oxford University – fully on the Chopin artistic level. Alas, nobody took the music seriously since the style was so ‘outdated’. Meanwhile the clone has been put to rest in a care home in Alabama.

  • Peter San Diego says:

    Next, Beethoven, then Liszt! How many other composers’ life or death masks exist?

  • Dave says:

    Well done!

  • John Borstlap says:

    Spectacular and uncanny.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Whatever brings us closer to him is precious.

    The 1849 photograph, showing himill and dying. Another purported photo,never authenticated that I know; some sketches from life by friends; the Rubiol portrait Cortot once owned . hHe also owned Renoir’s portrait of Wagner and was photographed with them; best all the dramatic study by Chopin’s friend Eugene Delacroix, who knew him well. at first a double portrait of George Sand and Chopin, but Delacroix divided it; they are now in different museums, separated as in life.

    His body is in Pere Lachaise beneath Clesinger’s marble work, covered in flowers and notes every day, the caretaker said. The heart is buried in the wall of a Warsaw church, removed in WWII for safekeeping. The best portrait is perhaps the music.

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Well said, Edgar.
      The reconstruction is truly excellent, if perhaps a bit too healthy-looking. Perhaps I’m too much influenced by that final photograph.
      It’s an interesting diversion to think about which composers “looked” like their music. I’ve always thought that Chopin did, Beethoven did, Bartok did, Sibelius did, J. Strauss II did.
      R. Strauss did not; neither did Verdi, Wagner, Prokofiev, or Shostakovich.
      Anyway, it’s something to while away the time while in confinement.

      • John Borstlap says:

        The reason that Strauss, Verdi, Wagner, Prokofiev and Shostakovich did not look like their music, is that they were actually someone else.

        • Edgar Self says:

          John Borstlap, r the ascription of music by Verdi, Wagnr, Strauss, PRKFV, and Shostakovich to other composers, reminds me of the theory that Shakespeare’s works were not written by him,but by another writer of the same name.

          And they don’t look like like htheir work either.

          • John Borstlap says:

            Actually, I was not thinking of the music being written by other composers, but that their personalities were different from the personalities which emerge from the works. Sometimes artists are mere instruments of the art form, even if against their will.

  • David Lowenkron says:

    Looks like Hershey Felder to me! 🙂

  • Edgaer Self says:

    Greg — Good observation on composers who do and do not look like their music: two others, Rossini, and Schoenberg, with that throbbing vein on his brow and writhing mouth. What about Sibelius, the polished granitic dome like one of Yosemite’s. Only Karsh managed a different image, no dome; I didn’t even see the shadowed clinched fist for a long time, the focus is so on the face.

    John Galsworthy: “The eyes are what we are, the mouth what we become.”

    And Mozart, in the unfinished oil portrait by his brother-in-law. To me Shostakovich does, the eyes and mouth again. Berlioz looks wonderfully like himself in the marvelous photo, as fine as one of Matthew Brady’s. I think by Nadal. .

    • Greg Bottini says:

      Hi Edgar,
      I mentioned Sibelius as looking like his music. Schoenberg certainly does.
      Berlioz does too, I agree. He looks like a falcon in that famous photo (I believe the name of the photographer is Nadar).
      I disagree with you about Shostakovich. The myopic eyes and weak chin, to me, don’t fit up with his powerful, passionate music.
      Rossini? Absolutely! The portraits of him I’ve seen show a humorous, intelligent, well-living man – just like his music.
      I’m on the fence about Mozart. That unfinished oil strikes me differently every time I look at it.
      Ah, the stuff we think about when we have idle time on our hands!

      • John Borstlap says:

        I would love to think about stuff if I had idle time on my hands.


        • Edgar Self says:

          More idle time can be arranged, John, but you’re doing pretty well as it is. Greg mentioned his lock-down in San Francisco, which was the case here until last week, though I scarcely noticd the difference.

          Psychologists say personality is destiny. It can also be a result of the conflict between emotion and intellect, the strain visible.

          Galsworthy’s intuition, that ‘the eye are what we are; the mouth what we become”, stunned my poet-friend into rare silence.

          Music comes from silence and returns to it. How beautiful are these silences, the return, the interval between when l’armonia e l’invenzione vie, and dissonance can resolved, are as fundamental as the laws of physics that govern them.

          Music obviously is an embodiment of harmony, the Greek ideal. Those who love it are often most in need of it and seek to remedy its lack.

          David Lowenkron above topped us all by spotting the resemblance of Chopin’s revivified death-mask to Harvey Felder’s popular one-man show as Chopin. David earns his crown of lions.

          I remember Chopin’s death-mask differently, the agony, the writhing down-turned mouth, the closed eyes no longer who he was, the voice silenced. Beethoven’s mask also is painful to see, evidence of the price demanded, and paid.

  • Edgar Self says:

    Please make that Hershey Felder; my thought wandered, and no wonder.