Le Brun, Charles (1619–1690)
A celebrated French painter born in Paris, February 24,
1619. When only 15 years old, he received commissions from
Cardinal Richelieu, and his paintings were also praised by
Poussin. Le Brun was a founder of the Royal Academy of Painting
and Sculpture (1648) and the Academy of France at Rome
(1666). He also was director of the Gobelins, a famous school
for the manufacture of tapestries and royal furniture. Le Brun’s
treatise on physiognomy, Traité sur la physionomie humaine comparée
avec celle des aminaux, was written at a time when the subject
was considered to be an occult science. In this book Le
Brun executed remarkable drawings comparing human and
animal faces, a theme later developed with reference to the
emotions by Charles Darwin in his book The Expression of the
Emotions in Man and Animals (1872 etc.). Le Brun died February
22, 1690.