Johann Kaspar Lavater

Johann Caspar Lavater

1741 (Zürich) – 1801 (Zürich)

Lavater’s lifelong friend Fuseli and he were briefly exiled for denouncing a corrupt magistrate. Sulzer accompanied them on a journey on which they met Klopstock, and the great Jewish scholar Mendelssohn, whom Lavater unwisely tried to convert to Christianity. Ideas he had developed about the soul led to his meeting Kant and Herder. Goethe became a great friend (though they later fell out), mutually fascinated by the soul’s expression through the face. Among his many correspondents were Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Wieland, Basedow and Claudius. Though he greatly influenced Blake, it is unlikely that they met.