JF Ptak Science Books Post 1136
This fantastic image comes via freakyfauna.tumblr.com and is related in some way to an earlier post here ( called "The Center of Levity.."1), but not really. (Image below is very clickable; an earlier much less detailed image appears on page 74 in this 1941 issue of Life magazine, centered around a woman's face and a toothbrush.) It is hardly a map of the macrocosmos incised with Pythagorean precision on the body of man2, nor an astrological or Kabalistic or Vitruvian perspective representation of humanity. It is just a 1940's eye-trail map of where women looked at a man, a non-mathematical treatment of vague interest.
It turns out that the seduction of a man's body to a woman's gaze--as difficult as that might seem from this photo--is fairly measurable, and was so even in the 1940's, when the researcher Herman F. Brandt (Drake University, Iowa) produced this image. And what it is, basically, is a map of where women looked when their eyes were tracked as they looked at this man. Brandt had a long career investigating ocular fixation, and (I think) developed a camera that would track the reflection of beams of light on the corneas of his subjects, recording eye movement in horizontal and vertical planes, as they drank in this fine figure of manhood. In any event his research was of interest to a wide variety of people, from neurologists to fashion designers--I've got no idea of how that interest was manifested, or if it turned out to be valuable information. I do know that the Brandt work utilized by Marshall Field & Co. did produce a remarkable photograph open to all sorts of interpretation. Visual stimulus point #19 was left uninterpreted and unmentioned, though the great majority of visual hits was above the waist, and above the neck.
1. One of the images from the Center of Levity post:
2. For example, this classic from Agrippa von Nettesheim, De Occulta Philosophia (1533):