Historical art of phrenological skulls and heads

Historical art of phrenological skulls and heads

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Credit: SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Phrenology. Historical artwork depicting skulls and heads explaining the pseudo-sciences of phrenology and physiognomy. Phrenology was based on the misplaced belief that a person's character and mental faculties gradually changed the shape of their skull and hence scalp. Physiognomy was based on the similarly incorrect idea that the proportions of a person's facial features were related to their character. Practitioners of these principles claimed they could assess a person's personality by feeling the bumps on their head or by measuring their features. These theories were popular in the nineteenth century when this illustration was made.

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Keywords: artwork, face, head, historical art, historical artwork, historical image, history, medical charlatanism, people person persons, phrenology, physiognomy, pseudo-science, quack treatment, quackery, skull, skulls

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