The Face: Our Human Story

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From sacred totems to playful caricatures, the face is the most revealing subject in the history of art: it defines our human identity. But how have different cultures depicted the face, and why has it been so central to artistic expression all over the world?

Debra N. Mancoff explores the depiction of the human face through the full range of objects and works of art in the collection of the British Museum, and discovers how the face subtly conveys the full spectrum of human emotion. The book is arranged thematically, and each chapter begins with a brief introduction before depicting faces in various visually led pairings and groupings. Some of the juxtapositions speak for themselves; others are explored through brief narrative captions. Many pairings raise a smile; others are surprisingly affecting. This book will both fascinate and delight the reader, offering insights into experiences that we all share as human beings and that our faces inevitably reveal.