Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brainiac ...

Long before I knew of the pseudo-science of Phrenology, I knew I was intrigued by the illustrated head forms that noted the supposed relationships between a person's character and the morphology of the brain.

Image via 1895 edition of Webster's Dictionary.

Franz Joseph Gall, the German physician who fathered phrenology principals in 1796, mapped his version of the brain's functions and was influential in psychiatry as well as modern neuroscience. Tackling what makes us tick was thoroughly novel then, and no less fascinating today.


Images above via Accidental Mysteries.

His illustrated sets of different mental faculties on these heads are a bit macabre, yet eerily compelling. Today, an entire cottage industry has popped up crafting artistic images of phrenology heads on every imaginable surface.

Phrenology art is a hot trend. Some of my favorites, include: 1) bicycle helmet via; 2) bookends via Clayton Gray Home; 3) plate from The Bottom Drawer Antiques; 4) Steampunk button from; 5) tray; and 6) bowl via Flickr Hive Mind.  

Image via Steve Martin.

Even actor/musician Steve Martin has jumped on the phrenology bandwagon with the popular art as his newest album cover.

Image via

All over the Etsy shopping site, phrenology heads grace pillows, plates, ceramic art, jewelry and custom cards, just to name a few.

Image via

I'm particularly fond of old, engraved marble heads and the vintage, ceramic beauties that serve as ink wells. With some investigative online research, these can be found on the web and in antique shops.

Images above via The Half Empty Glass (left) and AM Living (right).

These curiosities are dressing lively interiors everywhere. They pop up wherever a sense of style and humor intersect.

Image via Stuff Jen Did.

Image via Decor Pad.

1 comment:

Krystina said...

I will take the AM living sculpture. I have always been fascinated by this too. Great minds think alike. :)

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