Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s Maquette
Resin bust
“The Simpleton”


Franz Xaver Messerschmidt




Exaggerated muscular contraction; face-swapping


Head articulation; Prosopagnosia


Placement in a remotely populated area for solitude

Collected by

Warehouse 13







Date of Collection

November 8, 2006



An aspiring sculptor Franz Xaver Messerschmidt (February 6, 1736 – August 19, 1783) made a name for himself earlier on with two life-size sculptures for the court of Austrian empress Maria Theresa. However, late 1700s Vienna was comparable to early 1900s Paris in the art world – every artist congregated there around the same time to outdo one another. The passing of his mentor, a guaranteed professor position and society for his blunt manners made Messy rethink his big plan. So he moved to a cabin in the Bavarian woods and tinkered away on a personal project.

Sixty-nine contorted sculptures, all with faces in the throes of life. Many were disgustingly beautiful on detail alone, with bulging veins and wrinkled foreheads recreated in stony grimace. Almost all had an exaggerated reaction. Confusion, shame, ignorance and laughter all could be pinned down on a single piece because there is no intended way for it to be looked at. Other than in gleeful delight.


Excites the muscles and tendons to extreme measures, often causing cramps and peaked vascularity. After continual exposure to people, it begins slowly swapping out the features of its visitors. Having mismatched eyes or asymmetric cheek planes become common, temporary instances.

The continual tensing leaves the muscles in a deeper relaxed state after being released. So much, the head and face start to lose structure. Their neck can tilt at unnatural angles, and their facial proportions resemble a kindergarten sketch. Also causes prosopagnosia – the inability to recognize faces properly, especially after plenty of feature swaps. Even with perfect memory, individuals cannot be recognized with any certainty.

Activation is caused when viewed in a remotely populated location, usually by a person seeking solitude or clarity. To keep it calm, agents must perform their best silly face every three months.

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