Made in Germany, the forthcoming greatest hits album by German rock band Rammstein, features six different album covers, each with a photograph of a plaster life mask of a band member. Many online reviews and articles about the album are calling the artwork “death masks” rather than “life masks” without understanding the obvious difference between the two.
Death masks are, of course, plaster masks that are created shortly after a person dies. Life masks are made while the person is still alive. Plaster masks were once the best way to memorialize a person. They were created in order to have a record of what the person looked like, both in life and in death. Painters and sculptures often made them in order to have a model to use and avoid having to make the subject pose for many hours. The most common use for them today is the creation of special effects make up.
Although death masks are quite rare in modern times, many famous people have had life masks created. This includes pop stars such as David Bowie (above left) and Michael Jackson (above right). Fans can purchase life masks from businesses such as The Haunted Studios.
This is not the first time that a life mask has been used as album cover art. The 1973 album Lifemask by English folk singer-songwriter and guitarist Roy Harper features a life mask of Harper.
Made in Germany is scheduled to be released on December 13, 2011. It includes one new track, Mein Land.