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Darwin Correspondence Project

From J. V. Carus   11 October 1872


Oct 11. 1872

My dear Sir,

If your 12th. sheet (N) is not yet printed off, you might perhaps still be able to alter a misprint, which puzzled me a great deal   On p 184 line 6 from the bottom you mention a statue (besides the Laocoon) called the Arretino. In all probability you were thinking of that kneeling statue in Florence, which we generally call the “Grinder”. This is the Arrotino.1 If it was not for the double r one might think (as it occurred to me) of some one from Arezzo. In this moment I cannot find out a figure of the Arrotino full “en face”, but according to an outline drawing “en profile”, he exhibits the action of the grief muscles.

Believe me | My dear Sir | Yours very sincerely, | Prof J. Victor Carus

In haste!

CD annotations

Top of letter: ‘Keep. | Correction | Expression | see to Duchenne’2ink


The Arrotino (blade-sharpener: Italian) is a first century bce sculpture in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence. It depicts a man crouching to sharpen a knife on a whetstone. The other sculpture referred to is Laocoön and his sons in the Vatican Museums, Vatican City. It shows the three figures being strangled by sea serpents. CD corrected the spelling of ‘Arrotino’ in the second printing of Expression.
In Expression, p. 184, CD also referred to Guillaume Benjamin Amand Duchenne’s discussion of the depiction of grief muscles by ancient sculptors (see Duchenne 1862, p. 20 and pl. 7 figs. 66–73).


Duchenne, Guillaume Benjamin Amand. 1862. Mécanisme de la physionomie humaine, ou analyse électro-physiologique de l’expression des passions. 1 vol. and ‘Atlas’ of plates. Paris: Ve Jules Renouard, Libraire.

Expression: The expression of the emotions in man and animals. By Charles Darwin. London: John Murray. 1872.


Corrects CD’s spelling of the name of a statue: the Arrotino (spelled "Arretino" by CD) [see Expression, p. 184, on grief-muscles].

Letter details

Letter no.
Julius Victor Carus
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 161: 85
Physical description
ALS 1p †

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 8554,” accessed on 17 May 2022,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 20