Joh. C. Lavater 1741-1801; Physiognomic portrait with description in his hand
This fine portrait of a young lady, undoubtedly commissioned by Lavater himself leaves space for his 4 line physiognomic interpretation in his own hand.
Copper engraving with ink text by Johann Caspar Lavater.
“Gott freut um wieder zu vereinen….”
25 x 19.3 cm
Lavater used a pseudo-scientific system to judge man's character from physiognomy. His comments about the origins of an individual's physiognomy and the graphic representations of his own face plus his interest in their production and dissemination in connection with various editions of his Essays on Physiognomy (1770s, German; 1780s, French; 1790s, English) let us grasp his concepts of the interpretative power of physiognomy and of the superiority of nature over art. These insights are focused by comparing drawings and engravings by J. H. Lips, William Blake, and others, suggesting answers to questions about Lavater's portrait by Blake.