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Beethoven Plastered

Beethoven once sat for a German sculptor named Danhauser while he attempted to make a death mask of the great composer. "Danhauser asked Beethoven to remove his coat and open his shirt. 'I hope you will not decapitate me,' observed Beethoven. The sculptor reassured him, gave him a quill to put in his mouth for breathing, and then proceeded to apply a quantity of plaster of Paris to Beethoven's face. Beethoven complied, but when the plaster began to thicken, he panicked at the sensation of the hardening mask. Suddenly jumping up, with hair standing on end, he tried to remove the plaster exclaiming: 'Sir, you are a garrotter, a bandit, a monster!' 'For heaven's sake, my most honored Kapellmeister,' stuttered the confounded artist. 'A rogue, a cannibal!' 'But permit me that I -' 'Away!' roared Beethoven. He smashed the chair upon which he had been sitting, snatched his hat and coat, and forgetting to put either of his garments on, he rushed out of the room. Danhauser hastened after the raving man and tried to pacify him, but Beethoven exclaimed, 'Go back, you cunning assassin. Do not attempt to approach me, or I'll throttle you!' After these words he ran out of Danhauser's house, slamming the door behind him, the face still covered with plaster."

[In 2000, CNN reported that a chemical analysis of some of Beethoven's hair suggested that lead poisoning may have contributed to his chronic illnesses, deafness, erratic behavior, and death. The concentrations were believed to be 100 times normal levels.]

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