Distorted vision

April 15, 2005

Ian Thompson's review of the catalogue for the Future Face exhibition at the Science Museum was disappointing ("Under the skin of those visions we all see in our mirrors", April 1). He was unable to "see" the complex relationship that faces were shown to have within medicine as well as cosmetic surgery and in the general culture.

The ever-changing models for the face that all surgeons employ are found within the highly complex meanings of appearance at each and every moment in history. When modern cosmetic surgery began, at the close of the 19th century, the surgeons sought the perfect nose or chin in books of art - generating noses that looked like those in Greek sculpture and chins from Dürer's drawings.

Future Face provided a radical rethinking of the relationships between medicine and the history of aesthetics.

Sander Gilman
St Anne's College, Oxford

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