Full text: Problems in eugenics

F. A. Woods.Sociology and Eugenics.25x 
for one reason or another, have come to an end; but others, equally blue- 
blooded, have continued to thrive and increase numerically. The survivors 
are descended from the morally superior, on the average—statistical proof 
for which I have already published. Morally superior persons are also, it is 
encouraging to say, those who, on the whole, are superior intellectually, 
so that history does afford evidence with regard to changes in racial char­ 
acters of a very optimistic sort. 
Historical portraits can also be used in the biological interpretation of 
history, and physical changes demonstrated coming in the course of genera­ 
tions. A comparative study of the authentic portraits of royal, noble, 
and other historical personages proves that the bony framework of the 
face, especially that about the nose and eyes, has rapidly changed since 
the beginning of the sixteenth century. The eyes are now closer together 
and more set in, under the supraorbital arch; the upper part of the nose 
has become more slender and the cheek bones less prominent. The eye­ 
brows of the men and women of the Renaissance frequently spread broadly 
outward and upward, as in the well-known portraits of Henry VIII. Alto­ 
gether, the upper part of the face was closer to the Mongolian type in the 
earlier days. The mouth and lower part of the face appear to have changed 
but little. I have collected photographic material from several of the large 
galleries, and have submitted the question to statistical tests. Some speci­ 
men photographs are here on exhibition, and I hope soon to publish the 
scientific proofs. For the present, I shall be content to merely comment 
briefly on the question. The first thought is that the artists painted them in 
this peculiar way, and that the paintings are not correct likenesses; but this 
cannot be the explanation. Authentic portraits prior to the sixteenth 
century are very rare. The earliest contemporary portrait of an English 
sovereign is that of Richard II. in Westminster Abbey (last part of the 
fourteenth century). It has a very conventionalized appearance. From 
this time until about the close of the fifteenth century, most portraits are, 
for one reason or another, unsatisfactory; but with the great Italian 
masters (about the year 1500) a new era commences, and the faces have 
the appearance of being correctly delineated. But, more than this, the 
same artists painted portraits both north and south of the Alps. The por­ 
traits of the Venetian nobles do not show the characteristics I speak of. 
The same is true in a general way of all the Italian nobility; but the early 
portraits of English, French, Flemish, and German nobility are quite 
different. Here it is very rare to find a face of the modern type, but such 
are occasionally seen, just as would be the case were all the portraits good 
likenesses. The whole series of facts is comprehensible only on the sup­ 
position that the peculiarities, which are so easy to observe in the painted 
canvases, are the representation of real anatomical differences. 
Already, by the seventeenth century, the peculiar naso-orbital region is 
less frequently encountered. The artists of the eighteenth century were such
	        

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