Felix Martin Furtwängler
From the series, Torquato Tasso
6 1/8 in. x 3 15/16 in. (15.56 cm x 10 cm)
Medium and Support:
Color etching on paper
Gift of the artist
© Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts
Furtwängler created the eight-image Torquato Tasso series in 1994. Torquato Tasso was an Italian Renaissance poet whose doomed romance with Leonora d'Este, Duchess of Ferrara, made him a hero of the Romantic poets, Goethe and Byron. He also was hospitalized for several years for violence and mental instability brought on by frustration at the lack of support from his patrons and the excessive demands of his critics. However, the relationship between the historical Torquato Tasso and Furtwängler's print series is uncertain and since the prints are all untitled, there are no clear correspondences between Furtwängler's works and the life or texts of the poet.
Though the figure's faces are "mask-like", they are not expressionless, but instead seem to reveal the underlying structure of the faces they are supposed to hide, displaying flesh, bone, and tissue. Ironically, the mask-like quality of the faces stems from the fact that all covering has been removed, revealing what lies underneath, physically and emotionally.