Daniel Chodowiecki, born in Danzig and died in Berlin, is one of the little masters, but interested in representing emotions. In the art of printing at that time, this was something new.
Long time it was not common knowledge that a large proportion of the illustrations in the books of Lavater were made by Chodowiecki, who since 1770 has been known as a draftsman and engraver of vignettes, book illustrations and almanacks, a genre that far in the 19th century, enjoyed enormous popularity.
Chodowiecki owed, in turn, much to William Hogarth, whose “Analysis of Beauty” was translated into German in 1754 and who was elected in 1757 as a member of the Academy of Augsburg.
It has been shown that all the main engravers and caricaturists on both sides of the channel were influenced by the writings of Lavater and the plates of Chodowiecki.
In this engraving, Chodowiecki tried to put the physiognomy of Lavater in practice.
———-Four men look at a painting in which the Protestant merchant Jean Calas says farewell to his family. He was sentenced to death by the Parliament of Toulouse because he should have killed one of his sons, who had become a Catholic. This verdict shocked the whole of Europe at that time and Voltaire organized with success a campaign to rehabilitate him. The son appeared to have committed suicide——–
Chodowiecki wants to show the effects of the four temperaments: the first man, heavy and thick looking at the canvas, seated in an armchair rigid and unmoved, the second, thin, curved with a tense troubled expression, the third sensitive and moving his eyes, the fourth does not look at the painting, but clenches angry his fist.