Historical art of phrenological skulls and heads

Historical art of phrenological skulls and heads

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Credit: CORDELIA MOLLOY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Phrenology. Historical chart showing skulls and heads used in the pseudo-sciences of phrenology and physiognomy. Phrenology was based on the belief that a person's intellectual capabilities and personality was related to the shape of their skull and scalp. Physiognomy was based on the belief 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. Artwork taken from the "Iconographic Encyclopaedia of Science, Literature and Art", published in 1851.

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

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