“This expression must be that of the damned.”
Image: Metropolitan Museum of Art
In 1862, French neurologist Guillaume-Benjamin-Amand Duchenne de Boulogne published The Mechanism of Human Facial Expression, a scientific and aesthetic text on the ways in which the muscles of the face create various expressions — a dictionary, so to speak, of what he believed was a universal, God-given language.
Duchenne had previously developed a number of therapeutic techniques involving the use of localized electric shocks to stimulate muscles
While conducting experiments for his text, he partnered with Adrien Tournachon, brother of the famed photographer Nadar, to document the expressions he induced in his models with targeted, painless shocks. Read more…