Art History Hairstyles

Daughters of Akhenaten & Nefertiti, Amarna Period, ca. 1351–1334 BCE
Queen Nefertari Being Led By Isis, ca. 1279–1213 BCE
Nefertari With Horus, ca. 1250 BCE
Ancient Egyptian Musicians and Dancers
Portrait of Couple From Herculaneum, ca. 79 CE
Fresco From the Villa of The Mysteries at Pompeii, ca. 79 CE
Portrait of a Roman Woman From Herculaneum, ca. 79 CE
Empress Zhangxianmingsu, Song Dynasty, 1022–1031 CE
Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, 1412–1416
Madonna and Child, Melun Diptych by Jean Fouquet, 1450
Portrait of a Lady by Rogier van der Weyden, 1460
Portrait of a Woman by the workshop of Sandro Botticelli, 1480
Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani by Leonardo da Vinci, 1489–1490
Saint Justina of Padua by Bartolomeo Montagna, 1490
Portrait of Young Woman with Unicorn by Raphael, 1506
Eleonora di Toledo col figlio Giovanni, Agnolo Bronzino, 1544-45
Diane de Poitiers by François Clouet, 1571
Mumtaz Mahal, 1627–1631
Woman With a Pink by Rembrandt, 1660s
A Bejeweled Maiden With Parakeet, Deccan Artist, 1670
Sarah Campbell by Joshua Reynolds, 1777–1778
A Tea-House Waitress by Kitagawa Utamaro, 1795
Orphan Girl At The Cemetery by Eugène Delacroix, 1823–1824
Rejected Geisha by Keisai Eisen, 1824
Rejected Geisha by Keisai Eisen, 1824
A Roman Lady by Frederic Leighton, 1858
Princess Alexandra of Denmark, Franz Xaver Winterhalter, 1864
The Twig by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 1865
Bright Eyes by Sir John Everett Millais, 1877
Graziella by Jules-Joseph Lefebvre, 1878
A Girl by Frederic Leighton, 1880

This one's for all the Art History majors out there. Maybe you didn't get that job at Sotheby's, but you damn well know a Renaissance braid when you see one. Surely you'll agree that half the fun of a portrait study was looking at the updos and accessories. Hair's been around as long as people have (longer, even!), and given how much we as a species seem to enjoy playing with the stuff, it's unsurprising that there's a lot of, to use the technical term, baller hair design in all those scrolls, papyri, and canvases. Which gave us an idea: Why not go back—way, way back—for a little historical hairspiration? From Ancient Egypt to the Song Dynasty and Victorian England, we're taking a leisurely stroll through the annals of cool hair. We didn't include the obvious ones (you can see Botticelli's Venus anytime; his portrait of Simonetta Vespucci, though? Just as good, and way more likely to inspire a hair wrap), but if there are any non-canon standouts missing from this list, tell us in the comments and we'll add!

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Evelyn B.

    Hurrraaaaa!!! :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

  • Elle m


  • Elle m

    Oh ; Eugene Delacroix , Detail of Orphan girl at the cemetery 1823-1824

    • ITGLacey

      Brilliant! Added & much appreciated—the way the wind is moving her hair is just breathtaking. Thank you for sharing :)

  • Teresa Mae Leveille
    • ITGLacey

      Sargent's women are just so enchanting—looking at some of his portraits almost makes me dizzy. Feel the same way about Ingres & Reynolds... especially the use of color:

  • Becca

    the caryatids from the porch of erechtheion on the arcopolis!

    • ITGMackenzie

      oh ef yes

  • parker

    Titian's Penitent Magdalene 1565

  • AR

    Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait With Braid (1941) !!

    • me

      yes yes yes

  • Stephanie

    So cool ITG ... SOO cool!

  • Gabrielle

    Self portrait by Albrecht Dürer

    • ITGLacey

      Oh man, GREAT suggestion. I have such an unhealthy crush on Dürer. Basically invented the modern logo, brilliant limning, & hot like the sun? I know exactly where/when I'm going if time travel becomes readily available...

    • ITGLacey

      OK, having a hard time choosing just one. We thinkin' earlier or later or both?

      • Gabrielle

        Definitely earlier for me! I share that crush. This painting was on a metal cookie box at home and I remember spending a lot of time staring at it when I was a kid.

      • Evelyn B.

        Owww, these shiny, shimmery locks of gold! If only Pirkheimer had specified WHAT those "oils" were that Albrecht used to put in his hair. :( This invaluable knowledge lost forever.

      • VictoriaElena

        Looove the later one. Love Dürer's self portraits. He did such a great job of branding himself.

  • Celeste

    Have y'all seen this lady?

    She's a hairdresser-turned-anthropologist who does historical hairdos (mostly updos and set styles) using period-appropriate techniques and implements. Her videos are suuuuuppppper interesting.

    • ITGLacey

      Where has Janet Stephens been all my life & how can I find & befriend her immediately?

  • ITGLacey

    Minors are still part of the gang!

  • B.carr

    Van Dyck's, 'Lord John Stuart and his Brother, Lord Bernard Stuart', 1638. So sassy

  • ITGLacey

    OMG. Margiela masks are just copies of the apiary hoods in The Beekeepers! New Game: BRUEGEL... OR YEEZY?

  • ITGLacey

    One of my favorites, too—actually did a story about copying her look because it's so perfect. In fact *looks at self*... I'm kinda doing the same thing with my makeup & outfit today!

  • ITGLacey

    Ok, so who wants to go on a field trip to Baltimore?!?!

  • Nicole B.

    Ahhh I was an Art History major and I love this. Thank you!

  • mlle p

    Bright Eyes by Millais looks like it could be a portrait of Jared Leto as a child!

  • Karla

    I really love this post. My favs are Boticelli, Dante Gabriel Rosetti and Millais.

    Maybe are really interesting using any hairstyle of the post.

  • Evelyn B.

    A day on and I keep returning to this board, thank you so very much for it! Eyebrows should be next, me thinks.

  • Catherine

    We can't forget about the Gibson Girl. Not necessarily part of the canon but she definitely deserves honorable mention. I aspire to have my buns look like this.

  • Clever Girl Reviews

    I've seen quite a few of these and they are all wonderful!

  • lw

    hell yes, this is so good.

    to go along with Rogier Van Der Weyden's portrait, Petrus Christus and his portrait girl serving it (maybe this is just good hat inspo):


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