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Curman’s Skull: Scientific Racism and Art
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Culture and Aesthetics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3235-2871
2018 (English)In: Konsthistorisk Tidskrift, ISSN 0023-3609, E-ISSN 1651-2294, Vol. 87, no 3, p. 154-172Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In a group portrait by the Swedish painter August Malmström from c. 1894, the professor of anatomy Carl Curman is seen lecturing a group of students at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, most of them women. The painting has often been used to illustrate the change that came to the Academy of Arts in 1864, when a separate Ladies’ Department, opened. This article investigates the painting from another perspective, raising the question: what exactly was Curman teaching? As a result of the analysis, Malmström’s group portrait reveals the impact of Scientific Racism on nineteenth-century art education. Hereby, Curman’s lecture is put in the context of among others Petrus Camper’s idea that the different races differ in skull shape, and particularly in facial angle and Anders Retzius’ classification system for skulls.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 87, no 3, p. 154-172
Keywords [en]
Scientific rasism, Anatomy, Whiteness, Race, Camper
National Category
Art History
Research subject
Art History
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-155560DOI: 10.1080/00233609.2018.1450290ISI: 000438136500002OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-155560DiVA, id: diva2:1200903
Available from: 2018-04-24 Created: 2018-04-24 Last updated: 2018-08-20Bibliographically approved

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