Never before given such dedicated attention, Postures argues that the gestures portrayed in a work of art can reflect the mores of a particular period in history, the customs of a certain culture, or a fashion in artistic styles. Exploring these with masterful subtlety, celebrated artist and anthropologist Desmond Morris uncovers fascinating insights about changing social attitudes and conventions throughout history, finding surprising similarities and significant differences.
Morris’s vast selection of gestures, from the handshake to the glove-slap, are analyzed and grouped according to wider forms of communication—greetings, threats, insults, and more. All are illustrated with full color works, ranging from prehistoric masks and Greek statues to contemporary paintings and sculptures. Postures uniquely combines Morris’s expertise in both art and social science, shedding new light on even the most familiar paintings