• The Art and Science of Reading Faces: Physiognomic Theory and Hans Holbein the Younger

      West, Ashley D.; Hall, Marcia B.; Hall, Marcia B. (Temple University. Libraries, 2010)
      This project explores the work of Hans Holbein the Younger, sixteenth-century printmaker and portraitist, through the lens of early modern physiognomic thought. This period's renewed interest in the discipline of physiognomy, the art and science of "reading" human features, reflects a desire to understand the relationship between outer appearances and inner substances of things. Physiognomic theory has a host of applications and meanings for the visual artist, who produces a surface representation or likeness, yet scholarship on this subject has been limited. Examining Holbein's social context and artistic practice, this project constructs the possibility of a physiognomic reading of several major works. Holbein's engagement with physiognomic theories of appearance and representation provides a vital point of access to early modern discourse on character, identity and self.