Why do some faces set my pulse racing and not others? If this has ever crossed your mind, you are not alone. In the past, many have tried to use science to decode the elusive quality of beauty and many are still trying; see David Perrett’s latest book In your Face: the new science of human attraction as an example. This relatively small but important part of our bodies certainly holds a deep fascination whether you are a scientist or simply looking for love. But is beauty just in the eye of the beholder?
This Friday evening 6-10pm 7th October a free event at the National Portrait Gallery, London, (see ‘Glamour Factory’ for full details) will feature images and curios from the Library. It will take place in Room 16 and is called ‘What is Beauty?’ as part of the Image is Everthing section. Here the concepts of beauty and physiognomy will be related to film stars of today, will your favourite be there? The night is inspired by classic Hollywood portait photography and features talks, music and activities.
Aided by the judicious use of a kohl pencil I will also be road-testing an eighteenth-century forehead reader to discover if it holds any surprises for a modern-day audience. It will be an informal session ending around 20.45hrs
Are there really rules of beauty all good-looking people conform to? Join the debate and take advantage of other talks by experts such as Semir Zeki (Professor of Neuroaesthetics, UCL) and Dr David Gems (Institute of Healthy Aging, UCL). You can even be photographed like a celebrity too. If you feel like putting on the style, black and white is the theme of this glamourous evening.
Plate engraving illustrating a personification of ‘Beauty’ by Isaac Fuller and Pierce Tempest, 1709 from Wellcome Images (image number L0035394)
Natural beauty, digital illustration by Marina Caruso from Wellcome Images (image number B0007013)