Crowned in Curls By Kyleen Blunt

Hair as always been a way for a women (or man) to express themselves with a creative hairstyle. In the past, hair and the way it is styled could represent a variety of things including social structure, style, intellect, and maturity. While today, there are hundreds of different styles that are popular, one that has always remained prominent has been curls. Dating back all the way to 2600 BC, you can observe many different subjects in various paintings and scupltures pictured with curly hair. 

This stone statue of a man that dates back all the way to 2600 BC showcases a man with a full head of curls and a curly beard. The sculpture adds texture by contrasting the smooth stone of the skin and waves defining the hair and beard with straight grooves and small alternating diagonal lines.
Titian, an italian painter, created "Venus Rising from the Sea" in 1520. In this painting Venus, a greek goddess is wringing out her long curly hair. Goddesses are idolized to be examples of pure beauty. Her hair is a focal point in the piece and her posture creates movement throughout the work starting with her body and then traveling down her hair as she wrings it out.
Robert Peake the Elder completed this portrait of a woman in 1616. It features what seems to be an upper class woman with porcelain white skin. She is wearing an interesting neck embellishment that captures your attention. The artist gives her hair a bushy and coarse texture by using small, uneven brush strokes.
When observing this portrait of Princess Natalia Petrovna Golitsyn by Alexander Roslin created in 1777, the viewer is immediately drawn to her hair, which is styled in an updo with curls, in addition to adornments of feathers and jewels. Her hair consumes much of the positive space within the work. The painting easily portrays the Princess in elegant and beauty.
Charlotte Bonaparte brilliantly showcases various formal elements of art in her portrait of the Princess of Leuchtenberg, Theodolinde de Beauharnais in 1834. The painting consists a lot of negative space placing emphasis solely on the subject. Minimal use of color directs the eyes to certain details of the subject including her waist-line, shoulders, and hair. The subjects braided and curled hair is the most vibrant portion of the painting.
In 1866, Gustave Courbet painted "Jo, the Beautiful Irish Girl". The painting depicts a woman brushing her long curly red hair. Emphasis is placed on her hair, which seems to be the focal point of the piece, taking up most of the positive space. Courbet created an even wave pattern in her hair that flows, untamed over the canvas.
Not all hair has to me long and abundant. In this portrait of a lady done by Jan Adam Kruseman in 1829, her hair is more of an accompaniment of the large headdress she is wearing. The proportions of the woman's body compared to her hair are very unequal and unbalanced. The head piece is also much larger then her entire head.
Unlike many of the other paintings, "A mother planting her little daughter's hair" by Christina Krohg features two female subjects. Your eyes are first directed towards the mother in a blue dress. Her hair is done in a braided updo. Movement is then shifted to the daughter, who has long blonde curly hair.
In 1920, Hashiguchi Goyo completed the drawing entitled "Woman Coming Her Hair". This drawing depicts a woman of asian descent brushing her coal black, long and curly hair. Her hair is emphasized by the intense value of her hair in contrast to the negative space behind her. Goyo creates a smooth, flowing texture and movement using long curved lines started at her scalp and continuing all the way to the end of the canvas without fraying or breaking in-between.
Toward the end of the 17th century wigs started to become widely popular, as a means to hide hair loss due to a syphilis epidemic. Hair loss was a surefire way to public embarrassment, tarnishing ones reputation. As the wigs became more popular, cost started to rise, and they quickly became a scheme to showcase wealth. The larger, puffier, and curlier the wig was, the more expensive it was.
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