Charles le Brun: Nationalism, passion and visual codes

Wagner, M 2006, 'Charles le Brun: Nationalism, passion and visual codes', Occasional Series in Criminal Justice and International Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 63-76.


Document type: Journal Article
Collection: Journal Articles

Title Charles le Brun: Nationalism, passion and visual codes
Author(s) Wagner, M
Year 2006
Journal name Occasional Series in Criminal Justice and International Studies
Volume number 2
Issue number 3
Start page 63
End page 76
Total pages 14
Publisher RMIT University
Abstract In this essay, I argue that Charles Le Brun's physiognomic sketches, along with his lecture, 'A Method to Learn to Design the Passions' (1668), sound three themes we find in the current discussions and evaluations of non-linguistic means of human communication: 1. the search for universal, natural expressions outside of language, inscribed on the body, can be read as underscoring the need for national (tribal) identity, 2. that passions and emotions link the body to the mind, and might be 'read' as the domain where nature meets culture, 3. that the power of visual, symbolic meaning-making does not disappear when print media become the dominant form of social exchange after Gutenberg's invention, but takes the pseudo-scientific forms of physiognomy, pathognomy and phrenology, in addition to the visual arts. These curious 'sciences' anticipate the emergence of our understanding of non-linguistic and trans-linguistic messaging, which takes place beside, astride and prior to words themselves.
Keyword(s) Charles Le Brun
A Method to Learn to Design the Passions
non-linguistic communication
trans-linguistic messaging
human communication
emotion
visual art
physiognomy
pathognomy
phrenology
ISSN 1834-3759
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