February 8, 2010
Portrait of Giacomo Casanova by Anton Raphael Mengs (1768).
Numerous references to variations in finger length patterns are found in the history of literature. However, none of the revelations are more lively than the informative comment in the memoirs of Giacomo Casanova (Jacques Casanova de Seingalt, 1725-1798) – who has been described as ‘world’s greatest lover’. Casanova where he recounts a conversation with the painter Anton Raphael Mengas (Casanova, 1794).
Peters et al. (2002) reported that Casanova made 2 clear statements: first, that the ring finger is relatively longer than the index finger and, second, that this is the case for both men and women. What follows is a quote from the work of Casanova (The Memoirs of Casanova: Spanish Passions) about one of his conversations with the German neoclassic painter Anton Raphael Mengs.
QUOTE FROM CASANOVA (1794):
… Once I dared to tell him that he had made a mistake in the hand of one of his figures, as the ring finger was shorter than the index. He replied sharply that it was quite right, and shewed me his hand by way of proof. I laughed, and shewed him my hand in return, saying that I was certain that my hand was made like that of all the descendants of Adam.
“Then whom do you think that I am descended from?”
He got up, threw down brushes and palette, and rang up his servants, sayin,-
“We shall see which is right.”
The servant came, and on examination he found that I was right. For once in his life, he laughed and passed it off as a joke, saying-
“I am delighted that I can boast of being unique in one particular, at all events.”
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