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MEDICINE – Broadside: Les Indiscrétions de Lavater, Etude inedite par ce Professeur célèbre.


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An unusual broadside shows a woman’s face with marked 20 spots, indicating the places of the birthmarks, which should correspond with birth marks on different parts of the body. For example a birth mark on a cheek (a beauty mark) should repeat on the belly, the person who has a birth mark above the left eyebrow should have a birth mark on the foot, a birth mark on the upper part of the nose means a birth mark on the private part of female body, which name is not mentioned. 

According to the text on the broadside, the image was based upon a drawing by a Johann Kaspar Lavater (1741 – 1801), given to the lithographer by Mr. Schwitzer, the executor of Lavater’s will. 

Johann Kaspar (or Caspar) Lavater (15 November 1741 – 2 January 1801) was a Swiss poet, writer and physiognomist, who believed the person’s character, personality as well as diseases could be seen from his or her outer appearance, especially the face. 

This print published after his death, indicated that all the hidden spots on the woman’s body are visiable on her face, so the lady on the image is covering her body in vain.   

References:Katalog Zur Ausstellung Der Geschichte Der Medizin in Kunst Und Kunsthandwerk, 1906, p. 68.

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