Signature and Crime
On 19 December 2006, the Youth Educational Center of the State Hermitage was the venue for another regular evening event organized within the context of the VIP Guests program. At the reception room on Moika, 45, Ludmila Alekseevna Sysoeva, Chief Expert of the Internal Affairs Administration and doctor of law, met with university students from around St Petersburg.
Such meetings give students contact with well-known personalities from the world of culture and art in the informal setting of the Hermitage's Youth Educational Center atmosphere. The practice goes back several years and represents a unique opportunity for St Petersburg young people. A special program entitled VIP Guests of the Youth Center was developed by staff of the State Hermitage three years ago: members of the Petersburg intelligentsia, art curators and the organizers of exhibitions as well as foreign specialists in the field of art all participate in it.
The themes for discussions held in the context of the VIP Guests program are diverse and can be devoted to issues of philosophy and the history of art, or to various facets of human relations. The meeting with Ludmila Sysoeva fell into the latter category: man's life in society.
What does a signature tell us about a man? When did the science of graphology arise? Can you identify a criminal by his signature? Is the signature of an artist on a painting genuine or fake? How much text is needed for a judicial expert opinion on handwriting to be carried out? The questions put forward by the students were very varied.
Ludmila Alekseevna Sysoeva spoke about the history of graphology, about the existing practice of teaching children how to write and the differences in educational programs. Part of the discussion was devoted to the question of what constitutes a signature and how one can determine from a signature and from a sample of handwriting what the mental state of the person who wrote the given text may have been. A number of questions concerned present methodology for determining the author's sex by analysis of handwriting and the principles of graphology - considering how considerable importance is given to studying the geometry of a signature and the pressure applied when writing it.
The meeting in the reception room of the Youth Center once again confirmed the high level of interest of Petersburg's young people in a great many different issues. This is noteworthy given how each of the students has his own passion, whether it be archeology or modern art, architecture or painting, literature or music. Evening events like this within the context of the VIP Guests of the Youth Center program will continue.