Page images
[graphic][merged small][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

ot yet

OON after birth, when the eyes its expression; the first artist, who, begin to see but have

with a sharp flint, strove to trace learned to look, the first object pre lines on the bone of a reindeer or the sented to the virgin pupil is a human antler of a stag, produced a rough face. When, at the last hour of life, sketch of a human face by means of our gaze Hickers and fades in the su a circle and three or four dots, preme agony of death, our eye eagerly This universal worship of mankind seeks a friendly face upon which to for the human face is fully justified. fix before closing forever. The In it we find united in a small space human face, which may express im not only the organs of the five senses, mense love or eternal hate, sudden but also nerves sufficiently delicate sympathy or invincible aversion, is and muscles sufficiently mobile to the most interesting thing in the form one of the most expressive picworld. All the libraries in the uni tires of human nature.

Without our verse would not suffice to hold the uttering a word, our face expresses thoughts and feelings which the hu- joy and sorrow, love and hate, scorn man face has aroused in man since and adoration, cruelty and compasthat poor, intelligent biped trod this sion, frenzy and poesy, hope and planet. Religion has made it a tem fear, sensuality and modesty, all the ple of prejudices and of worship; desires and all the dreads, all the justice has sought the trace of crimes multiform life emitted at every inin it; love has found its sweetest stant by that supreme organ, the pleasures in it; and in it science has brain. discovered the origin of races, the Many centuries before science had expression of passions and of disease, gathered together the material for and has measured the energy of our observations, the necessities of thought. The dictionaries of all lan social life had taught men to watch guages have collected all the fruits the human face for the purpose of of our aspirations, of our studies, of reading the thoughts of the intellect our research, whether superficial or and the emotions of the heart. profound. Art has represented it in Hence was born an empirical art, the infinite variety and mobility of destitute of method and of rules,

Copyright, 1895, by Edgar S. Werner. All rights reserved.

which was transmitted from father very often, who is a frequenter of to son, as the heritage of an unedu- your house.. Suppose he covers his cated experience.

head with something which encircles Yet all that the mass of mankind his face and hides his lower lip, his knows of the human face is confined forehead and half his cheeks. The to a confused collection of vague no- rest, that is, the eyes, nose and upper tions which language could scarcely lip, remain uncovered. Although express. Try to describe to anyone the greater part of his face is thus the anatomical or the mimetic fea- concealed, you recognize him at once, tures of a face with which you are because the distinctive features are perfectly familiar, even your own, visible. On the contrary, let your and you will see how difficult a task friend remove his head-dress; his it is. Still it is enough to have caught hair is arranged as usual, and he but a glimpse of a man to be able to merely holds a small black mask bedistinguish him from the millions of fore his face, extending from the other men who people the globe. middle of his forehead to the middle To see and to give an account of of his nose, covering the tiny space what you have seen are two very

dif- occupied by the orbits of his eyes. His ferent things. When we look at a friends will be unable to recognize face, we rapidly note the most expres- him, especially if he has changed the sive and most characteristic features, cut or color of his customary clothes. by a sort of internal stenography. We Thus, that part of the face stretchkeep this stenographic image in our ing from the nasal bone to the middle memory, and, thanks to it, we recog- of the forehead, and lying between the nize each other, and it suffices for temples, is the distinctive feature of the ordinary uses of life. Sometimes the face, and that part which comwe note but one feature, the most prises the upper part of the cheeks salient one, and from this single fea- and the lower part of the nose is the ture we frame an appellation. The accessory feature." whites give the name of blacks to all The error of the vulgar observer the people of Africa and Australasia, consists not only in taking two or because a tint so different from their three characteristic features as the own instantly strikes their attention. stenographic image of all faces, but In the same way we say a lame man, also in confounding the form or a man with a long nose, a thick-lipped anatomy with a very different thing man; we speak of stupid or licentious —the movement or expression. This faces, of handsome or ugly faces, second fundamental error has slipped although besides these characteris- into all the popular treatises on physitics, these faces present many others ognomy. It is very recently that which go to make up the sum of their anatomy has been separated from individuality.

mimetics and that they have been All parts of the human face are studied separately. One man has not of equal importance in serving to little, short-sighted eyes, a long, , distinguish one man from another. crooked nose and a big, misshapen De Rubeis demonstrates this in his mouth; another man has fine, large " Treatise on the Reproduction of eyes, a Grecian nose and a beautiful Physiognomies:”

mouth: Yet they may both laugh " Physiognomy has two distinct alike and express love and hate in one features, one principal, the other ac

and the same way.

They are unlike cessory. The following hypothesis anatomically; they are alike physiowill show of what the first consists. logically or mimetically. You have a friend, whom you see If, by analysis, we separate all the


elements which we find in the human Then they divide the height into face, without submitting it to that four parts, each of which is equal other analytical operation made by to the length of the nose;

the the scalpel, we may draw up the fol- breadth into five, each of which lowing list of anatomical and mimetic equals the width of the eye. But elements of the human face: Size of Camper very justly observes that the the face and skull and their mutual proportions vary to an endless extent relations; length and breadth of the among various individuals, and that face and their mutual relations; situ- it is just these little differences that ation of the different parts of the constitute individuality. face; general form; color; forehead; One of the most important features eyes, eyebrows, eyelids and lashes; of a human face is the possession or nose; mouth; chin; cheeks; ears; the non-possession of prominent jaws, teeth; hair and beard; blemishes; thick lips and receding forehead. In wrinkles; various mimetic motions. the former case we say that the face

Each of these elements may, in its is prognathous; this is the type found turn, be resolved into secondary ele

among negroes, Australians

, and ments, as we shall see in succeeding some Papuans.

In the second case, chapters. From all these elements the face is orthognathous; it is that taken together, we can draw conclu- of all superior races. Isidore Geofsions which have reference to the frey Saint-Hilaire gave the successive epochs or accidents of life: eurygnathous to a third type, where Sex; age; health or disease; various the check-bones are very prominent changes, pathologic or traumatic, un- and which is found among the dergone in the course of a lifetime. Chinese, the Japanese and various

If we desire to reduce the conclu- branches of the Mongolian and Turasions to be drawn from a human face


races. This classification is to a small number, by a more precise hierarchic rather than ästhetic, beand scientific formula, we may say

cause it corresponds to a particular that there are five: Physiological, development of the brain and face. ethnical, æsthetic, moral and intel- If we consider the middle portion of lectual. The ethnic and the æsthetic the face only, there are also two princonclusions are almost wholly based cipal forms: One developed from upon the anatomical features.

The back to front and projecting upon physiological, moral and intellectual the median line; the other, develconclusions, on the contrary, depend oped in a tranverse direction, in which more upon mimetics than upon anat- the sides are prominent and the midomy.

dle is flat. The first form is found In theoretical works upon drawing, among Europeans; the second in we find certain rules which give us negroes and even more markedly in approximately the ordinary relative Mongolians. proportions of a beautiful or, at least, There are long faces and short a regular human face. The ancients faces. The former are more frequent got these rules from Vitruvius; the among the Aryan and Semitic races, moderns from Albert Durer. After the latter among Mongols. Durer's day, men studied the works thinking, the perfect face should be of classic antiquity, and tried to de- enframed in a fine oval. duce therefrom the æsthetic laws of The color of the skin is one of the human morphology.

Many artists most general and most salient feaon preparing their canvas to paint a tures which strike us in looking at a portrait, begin by drawing an oval human face, and we deduce from it and making a cross within this oval. the elements for judging of race, sex,

To our

If we

age and health.

The color of the take the pains to collect beans of difskin depends upon the pigment de ferent species and of different degrees posited in it, the way in which the of dryness, he will have all the tints blood is distributed, certain charac of the races called yellow and red. teristics of the epithelium and the At first sight it may seem a rough deeper tissues which give to it its and empirical proceeding to compare peculiar lustre. Broca has tried to the color of the human skin to that reduce all the shades of color of the of an article of food; but, as a matskin to a small number of elementary ter of fact, as we are treating of subtints, which he makes to correspond jective notions, we can give a far with a similar set of numbers; the more precise idea of a color by saying same table serves for the hair. All that it is like dried beans, than by who have attempted to use this table merely using the words olive, earthy of colors to define the shades of the brown, or blackish yellow. human skin have experienced great Having analyzed the form and difficulties. For my own part, I tried characteristics of the human face, to apply it to the study of Lapland we must now analyze its features and ers and was forced to give it up en examine them one by one. tirely. The chief reason is that the consult ancient and modern authors, skin is much more transparent than we shall find an abundance of physithe paper on which Broca spread his ognomie divinations mixed with a tints. We cannot compare two colors, very few observations of facts, a one of which comes wholly from re strange contrast which well displays flection, while the other is partly the poverty of science and the fertility transmitted and partly reflected. of human invention! The most obAdd to this the subjective errors, scure physiognomist has a hundred which, in the matter of colors, are formulas to offer us, each more unnot slight. The table of the Anthro certain than the other, for judging of pological Society of Paris is appar man's character and intellect by the ently scientific and exact; in reality, features of his face; while genuine it is as inexact as the old classic divi- anthropologists have barely touched sion into white, red, yellow and black, upon the subject, in their preoccupaaccording to which the whites be tion with the skull, which, to them, longed to Europe, the redskins to

seemed to contain the deepest secrets America, the yellow men to Asia and

of human nature. Midway between the blacks to Africa,

These are physiognomists and anthropologists, mere modes of cutting the Gordian we have the artists who have studied knot, but not of solving it. I think

the face from an æsthetic standpoint we shall come very near the truth if and have formulated their judgments we admit three tinges for the human in accordance with their personal skin: White, black, and the color of

taste and the tendency of the school dried beans.

to which they belonged. The white skin is found in almost

The Forchiad. all members of the Aryan and Semitie families and in many Polynesians, Next to the eye, the forehead is who are neither Malays nor Papuans, the most faithful interpreter of the and probably are of common origin intellect. Many centuries before with ourselves. The negroes, Papu men studied the morphologic hierans, Australians and some East archy, according to the scale of evoIndian tribes, have black skins. lution, a broad, lofty brow was held the other people of the earth are the to be beautiful and a narrow, recedcolor of dried beans. If anyone will ing brow to be hideous. This opin

« PreviousContinue »