Wax relief plaque of a man, Italy, 1701-1800

1701-1800 in Italy

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Wax relief plaque depicting lunatic, plague sufferer or possibly a person afflicted with lice, Italian, 18th century

The man shown in this curious wax plaque is scratching his head and body. Described as either depicting a ‘lunatic’ – a term once used to describe someone with a mental illness – a person with plague, or a man afflicted by lice, little is known about the origins of this plaque. Depicted in an almost comic style, it may reflect the black humour of the sculptor at a time of many and varied threats to individual health.


Psychology, Psychiatry & Anthropometry
Object Number:
glass, velvet, wax and wood
  • visual and verbal communication
  • sculpture

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