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Cast of Chopin's hand on display in London

04.07.2022 16:30
A bronze cast of Chopin's left hand is among the exhibits on show this week at the Ben Elwes Fine Art Gallery in London.
Fryderyk Chopin
Fryderyk Chopindomena publiczna/CC0

The event is part of London Art Week, which runs until July 8.

The cast is the work of French sculptor and friend of Chopin, Auguste Clésinger. According to historical accounts, after the composer’s death, Clésinger ran to Chopin's bedside to make his death mask and cast his left hand.

The cast, which demonstrates the length and slimness of Chopin’s fingers, is one of several made by Clésinger, the remaining ones being in the collections of the Chopin Museum in Warsaw, the Polish Museum in Rapperswil in Switzerland, the Musée de la Vie Romantique in Paris, and the Hunterian Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow.

According to Rachel Elwes of the London gallery, the cast currently on display is unique because it is the only one to feature the sculptor's signature on it. It is a loan from a private owner, who wants to offer it for sale soon.

Elwes told the media that the owner is expecting a relatively modest sum of 18,000 pounds, adding that the cast is likely to fetch a much higher price.

Chopin’s hands were described in many sources as special, used in a elegant manner and an anatomical key to his success.

In the book At the Piano with Chopin, Hungarian composer and pianist Stephen Heller is cited as extolling how Chopin’s slim hands would “suddenly expand and cover a third of the keyboard. It was like the opening of the mouth of a serpent about to swallow a rabbit whole.”


Source: PAP