This folio lithograph is from Charles Le Brun & Morel’s Dissertation sur un traité de Charles le Brun concernant le rapport de la physionomie humaine avec celle des animaux. The work was published in London and Paris by S & R. Bentley in 1827. This is the first lithographic ediiton of the print.
Le Brun created compelling images, with the supposition that human character traits can be read by examining an individual and deciding which animal’s head their face most resembles. Morel notes that Le Brun gave a lecture on his theory at a meeting of the Academie de Peinture in Paris on 28 March 1671 that was illustrated by the drawings. Unfortunately, although the drawings survived, all trace of what Le Brun said was subsequently lost, and the details of his theory only survived through second-hand reports or later works that interpreted what he had said. Louis-Marie-Joseph Morel d’Arleux worked to re-construct his original theory in this work.
The term for the scientific study explored in the work is referred to as Physiognomy or “the knowledge of nature,” which relates to the assessment of human character through study of physical features.