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Anatomy of the Expression of Emotions 

Anatomy of the Expression of Emotions
Anatomy of the Expression of Emotions

Michael J. Aminoff

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date: 18 August 2018

A discussion of medical artists, wax modeling, and medical museums in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries is followed by an account of Charles Bell’s enormously successful book, Essays on the Anatomy of Expression in Painting. The foundation of the Royal Academy of Art is described; Bell’s applied unsuccessfully to be professor of anatomy there. His book reflected his creationist viewpoint and his belief in intelligent design, but nevertheless it founded the scientific study of expression. It stimulated Charles Darwin to write on the same topic many years later from an evolutionist viewpoint. In recent years, a resurgence of interest has occurred in the topic by psychologists and law officers as a means of detecting deception. Bell’s book also had a major impact on the artistic representation of expression and inspired a number of contemporary painters, especially the Pre-Raphaelites.

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