JOHANN KASPAR (or CASPAR) LAVATER (15 November 1741 – 2 January 1801) was a Swiss poet , writer, philosopher, physiognomist and theologian.
Lavater was born in
At barely twenty-one years of age, Lavater greatly distinguished
himself by denouncing, in conjunction with his friend
In 1769 Lavater took
In the same year (1769), Lavater tried to convert Moses Mendelssohn to Christianity, by sending him a translation of Charles Bonnet 's Palingénésie philosophique, and demanding that he either publicly refute Bonnet's arguments or convert. Mendelssohn refused to do either, and many prominent intellectuals took Mendelssohn's side, including Lichtenberg and Herder .
Image of woodcut from Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe (1775-1778)
Lavater is most well known for his work in the field of physiognomy , Physiognomische Fragmente zur Beförderung der Menschenkenntnis und Menschenliebe, published between 1775 and 1778. He introduced the idea that physiognomy related to the specific character traits of individuals, rather than general types.
The fame of this book, which found admirers in France and England as well as Germany, rests largely upon the handsome style of publication and the accompanying illustrations.
The two principal sources from which Lavater developed his
physiognomical studies were the writings of the Italian polymath
Giambattista della Porta
Lavater's Apparatus for Taking Silhouettes.--(From an ancient engraving of 1783)
As a poet , Lavater published Christliche Lieder (1776–1780) and two epics , Jesus Messias (1780) and Joseph von Arimathia (1794), in the style of Klopstock . More relevant to the religious temperament of Lavater's times are his introspective Aussichten in die Ewigkeit (4 vols. 1768-1778), Geheimes Tagebuch von einem Beobachter seiner selbst (2 vols., 1772–1773), and Pontius Pilatus, oder der Mensch in allen Gestalten (4 vols., 1782–1785).
From 1774 on, Goethe was intimately acquainted with Lavater, but later had a falling out with him, accusing him of superstition and hypocrisy.
During his later years, Lavater's influence waned, and he incurred
considerable ridicule due to his vanity. His conduct during the French
The Swiss artist and illustrator, Warja Honegger-Lavater , was a direct descendent of Johann Kaspar Lavater.
* Vermischte Schriften (2 vols., 1774–1781) * Kleinere prosaische Schriften (3 vols., 1784–1785) * Nachgelassene Schriften (5 vols., 1801–1802) * Sämtliche Werke (poems only; 6 vols., 1836–1838) * Ausgewählte Schriften (8 vols., 1841–1844).
* ^ J. Arianne Baggerman; Rudolf M. Dekker; Michael James Mascuch (22 June 2011). Controlling Time and Shaping the Self: Developments in Autobiographical Writing Since the Sixteenth Century. BRILL. p. 250–. ISBN 90-04-19500-9 . * ^ Aphorisms of Man * ^ Annotations to Lavater\'s Aphorisms on Man
* The Faces of physiognomy : interdisciplinary approaches to Johann Caspar Lavater. Edited by Ellis Shookman. Columbia, SC : Camden House, 1993. (ISBN 1879751518 ) * Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Lavater, Johann Kaspar". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.