History of Wax Figures:
The making of wax figures can be traced back to the Middle Ages with wax figures offered to churches and wax masks made of monarchs. In the Renaissance, the making of wax models became more popular as sculptures used them to “sketch” before actually carving into stone. Today, Madame Tussaud’s museums are filled with life-sized wax figures of everyone from modern-day celebrities to historical figures.
Marie Tussaud (1761-1850) founded the first Madame Tussauds Museum in Central London. She learned wax modeling in Paris and served as an art tutor in Versailles until the outbreak of the French Revolution in 1789. During the revolution, she was imprisoned as a royalist and was tasked with creating death masks for those who were beheaded by guillotine. Later in her life, she traveled around Europe with her collection of wax heads. When her husband Francois Tussaud left her, she settled down in London and opened up the first Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
Wax figures are definitely not easy to make. They take over 800 hours to make. This includes modeling, measuring, painting, and sculpting to make one figure. Most often it takes more than 10 people's hands.
The first step is taking over 200 pictures for every angle. The measurements are used to create a metal skeleton clay mold which the wax is poured into. Once the hot wax mixture is poured into the mold, it has to harden. After it is out of the mold, the teeth and eyes are inserted. Believe it or not, each strand of human hair is individually inserted including eyebrows and eyelashes! Then, the hair is cut and styled to perfectly match the person. More than 10 layers of paint are applied to the figure to create realistic skin texture.
We think that wax figures are a strange phenomenon. Many of them hold little to no resemblance to the celebrities they are supposed to represent. However, at the same time, we think that wax figures are a nice, if a little strange, a tribute to celebrities who have passed. Though strange, over 2.5 million people walk through the doors of Madame Tussauds London every year. Many of the big cities you know have wax museums such as NYC, LA, SF, and much more. There are even dozens internationally. The wax museums that are in different countries should feature celebrities or historical people from that country. By doing this, visitors would learn more about the country.
So…the question is, would you visit one of the 30 wax museums?
Who do you think should have a wax figure?