Stories about hats... in art

Top hats, bowler hats, straw hats and fedoras: the hats that we find in art works, above all those in modern and contemporary art, belong to every type and often - as we now know - they have a significance that goes beyond that of mere accessory.

If in older works they had mostly the value related to power or class, in more recent art - from the 17th-18th centuries to the Expressionist period - the hat takes on a role more intricately bound with the work itself, with the colours and shapes that compose it, and it often becomes the main subject of the painting, so much as to appear in the title.

Just think of the self portraits by Vincent Van Gogh, who in representing himself "displays" straw hats and fedoras which in turn become protagonists. Not to mention Pierre-Auguste Renoir, who painted "photograms" of real life where brushstrokes of colour blend and reflect the light of faces, of clothes and of all those hats worn by the subjects of his paintings, immortalized in their naturalness. And then there are the hats that cover or glorify the faces of loved women, those muses who made the art of those who painted them eternal: how many female portraits are there in the history of art? They are innumerable in every period? Amedeo Modigliani's Jeanne Hebuterne comes to our mind, for example. Also, the ladies of Flemish painters such as Jan Vermeer and Pieter Paul Rubens, women whose dark clothes and rosy complexions contrast with the red and strong orange of their majestic hats. It can truly be said that hats have carved out their own space in every field, including the artistic one!

(Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pièrre-Auguste Rénoir; Self-Portrait with Grey Felt Hat by Vincent Van Gogh; Girl with a Red Hat by Jan Vermeer; Jeanne Hébuterne in Large Hat by Amedeo Modigliani; Portrait of Susanne Fourment - "Le Chapeau de paille" by Pieter Paul Rubens) 



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