13
$\begingroup$

There is one historic black and white portrait of Évariste Galois that is often used [1]. However there are a number of more recent colorful portraits that imagine him to be anything from straw blond[2], things in between[3], brown[4] and black[5].

Is there any historical source that describes his hair color?

Are there arguments to that would suggest that in [1] his hair is not only black because of the medium such as that other hair colors like brown and blond were historically portrayed differently in that medium?

A sourced answer to any of these two questions would suffice. If there is indirect information (such as the color of the hair of his parent is verifiable to a similar standard of proof as asked for above) that is welcome too.

I am aware that modern recoloration are not a reliable source but the variety of hair color he is portrayed with suggests this fact is not know or easily googleable.

[1] https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Evariste_galois.jpg

[2] https://www.deviantart.com/selunec/art/Evariste-Galois-189586719

[3] https://pl.mathigon.org/timeline/galois or https://www.deviantart.com/autumn-sacura/art/Evariste-Galois-168556089

[4] https://fineartamerica.com/featured/evariste-galois-granger.html?product=yoga-mat (this seems to be an coloration of [5]) or https://www.deviantart.com/daga-ra/art/Evariste-Galois-283582290

[5] https://www.alamy.de/stockfoto-evariste-galois-1811-1832-franzosischer-mathematiker-leider-starb-er-in-einem-duell-im-alter-von-20-jahren-datum-1832-105254851.html (again a black and white picture in a different style) or https://www.assignmentpoint.com/arts/biography/biography-of-evariste-galois.html

$\endgroup$
2
  • $\begingroup$ This is my first question asked here, i've seen other questions about for example the eye color of historic mathematical persons, so i think this question has a good place here. I know see that his question was closed though. If you motion to close it please suggest an alternative place to ask this question. $\endgroup$ Aug 5 at 17:00
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ A prison record depicted here states: "cheveux et sourcils: chatain-brun" (English: Hair and eyebrows: chestnut brown). I will try to find a scan of this document. $\endgroup$
    – njuffa
    Aug 5 at 19:44
32
$\begingroup$

Galois was imprisoned twice, at Sainte-Pélagie prison in 1831 and at La Force prison in 1832. The prison records are apparently retained in French archives.

His prison record from Sainte-Pélagie is reproduced (as text only) in the following article, a scan of which is available from NUMDAM:

P. Dupuy, "La vie d’Évariste Galois", Annales scientifiques de l’É.N.S. 3e série, tome 13 (1896), p. 197-266.

On page 264 of the article:

Cheveux ..... chatains
Sourcils .... id.

The color of his hair is described as chestnut, and the color of his eyebrows identical to the hair color. An online article shows a cropped picture of Galois's second prison record:

Olivier Courcelle, "Galois à La Force", CNRS Images des mathématiques, January 22, 2017

In the picture shown at the top of the webpage:

cheveux et sourcils chatains-bruns

Both hair and eyebrows are described as having chestnut-brown color.

$\endgroup$
1
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ +1 A great answer! $\endgroup$ Aug 6 at 15:39

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.