The following images are excerpted from Le Brun’s System on Physiognomy by L.-J.-M. Morel d’Arleux (after Charles Le Brun).
Le Brun (1619-1690) was a ‘painter and designer who became the arbiter of artistic production in France during the last half of the 17th century.’. Besides his work on paintings, tapestries and murals for the French court, Le Brun was also interested in the study of physiognomy, the ‘science’ of determining personalities from facial features.
Le Brun’s posthumously-published treatise Methode pour apprendre a dessiner les passions, based on a 1688 lecture, was an attempt to codify the visual expression of the emotions in painting. It was a work that apparently exercised a great influence on European art in the decades that followed. The present works were originally composed for another dissertation on the subject, now lost.