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Portraits of Charles Darwin
- Created 2012-02-26
There are many known
portraits of Charles Darwin
came from a wealthy family and became a well-known naturalist and author, and
s were made of him in childhood, adulthood and old age. Darwin's life (1809-1882) spanned the
development of photography
, and early portraits of Darwin are drawn or painted, while later portraits are monochrome photographs. After the publication and dissemination of the controversial
On the Origin of Species
in 1859, Darwin was also the subject of numerous caricatures.
Darwin's visage, particularly his iconic beard, continues to be culturally significant and widely recognizable into the 21st century. According to historian Janet Browne, Darwin's capacity to commission photographs of himself—and their widespread reproduction as
carte de visite
photographs—helped to cement the lasting connection between Darwin and the theory of evolution in popular thought (largely to the exclusion of the many others who also contributed to the development of evolutionary theory), especially as these portraits were reinterpreted in caricature. Most 19th century scientists could not afford the luxury of so many photographs as Darwin.
Especially in his last decades as
progressed, Darwin expressed frustration about sitting for photographs. He turned down an opportunity in 1869 to sit for a portrait with
Alfred Russel Wallace
, explaining that sitting for photographs "is what I hate doing & wastes a whole day owing to my weak health; and to sit with another person would cause still more trouble & delay. " Nevertheless, there are at least 53 known photographs of Darwin, according to Gene Kritsky, a scholar of Darwin photos.
from Wikipedia (last updated: 24 May), licensed under
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