What is physiognomy?
Illustration in a 19th-century book about physiognomy. Physiognomy (from the Greek φύσις physis meaning “nature” and gnomon meaning “judge” or “interpreter”) is a practice of assessing a person’s character or personality from their outer appearance—especially the face.
Does physiognomy really work?
No clear evidence indicates physiognomy works—but the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning for facial recognition has brought a revival of interest, and some studies that suggest that facial appearances do “contain a kernel of truth” about a person’s personality.
What is Chinese physiognomy?
Chinese physiognomy or face reading (mianxiang) reaches back at least to the The Spring and Autumn period. The first indications of a developed physiognomic theory appear in 5th century BC Athens, with the works of Zopyrus (who was featured in a dialogue by Phaedo of Elis), who was said to be an expert in the art.
Who is the father of physiognomy?
The principal promoter of physiognomy in modern times was the Swiss pastor Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741–1801) who was briefly a friend of Goethe. Lavater’s essays on physiognomy were first published in German in 1772 and gained great popularity. These influential essays were translated into French and English.
Who was the king of physiognomy?
Images like these were powerful, and illustrations, sculptures, drawings, and other visual forms were key to the spread of physiognomy and its strange ideas. In the second half of the 18th century, Johann Caspar Lavater became the new king of physiognomy.
What is the influence of physiognomy in art?
The influence of physiognomy can be seen throughout 18th- and 19th-century European art. In the 18th century in particular, natural philosophers embraced the “ideal” features found in classical sculpture, which were mistakenly thought to represent how the ancients actually looked.
Who used physiognomy in literature?
Many European novelists used physiognomy in the descriptions of their characters, notably Balzac, Chaucer and portrait artists, such as Joseph Ducreux.