Bodmer and J. Breitinger were amongst his teachers. At barely twenty-one years of age, Lavater greatly distinguished himself by denouncing, in conjunction with his friend Henry Fuseli the painter, an iniquitous magistrate, who was compelled to make restitution of his ill-gotten gains. In Lavater took Holy Orders in Zurich's Zwinglian Church , and officiated until his death as deacon or pastor in churches in his native city.
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Life comes easier for beautiful people. Even science knows that. Beautiful people are generally considered more successful, more intelligent and more self-confident than they would rate themselves. But what really is beautiful and therefore good? This is an excellent question to argue about. Or one to write a detailed book about, as did Johann Caspar Lavater Silhouette portrait of Johann Caspar Lavater; created by W. The countless images Lavater depicted in his book seemed to substantiate his hypotheses in an impressive manner.
He declared the human body, the face and head shape in particular, the universal language of nature. His contemporaries liked that idea. And the numerous pictures allowed everyone to comprehend Lavater. His book became a bestseller in the Enlightenment salons. Malicious gossip has it that this happened only because the four volumes of his work were so elaborately illustrated. And because even back then, people would rather look at pictures than read complicated texts.
The head shape was particularly interesting as it indicated whether one was a genius or a lunatic. Lavater was not the only one who devoted his work to physiognomy. Photo: KW. Of course, we as tolerant people of the modern world would never label someone as stupid or evil merely based on their physiognomy. All of the physiognomic fragments can be viewed online.
Johann Kaspar Lavater
Hardly any present-day blockbuster of criminalistics does without a profiler, the investigator who analyzes the socio-economic patterns of a criminal offense so as to identify the type of person behind it. Inferring the inner motives of a person from his or her actions is a method we take for granted nowadays. This was not always the case, however. Starting in antiquity, physicians and philosophers have questioned which, if any, regularities underlie the human being. Among those looking for an answer was Johann Caspar Lavater. Lavater took up an idea that had been familiar already to the ancient Greeks. Despite these prominent thought leaders, the theses of the Zurich scholar came under fire.
Johann Caspar Lavater, Physiognomic Fragments, 1775