The pathetic fallacy (as shown in hair throughout art history)

A quick refresher:

The phrase and concept of pathetic fallacy was initially defined by John Ruskin as “the difference between the ordinary, proper, and true appearances of things to us; and the extraordinary, or false appearances, when we are under the influence of emotion, or contemplative fancy” (Modern Painters 157).

The concept of pathetic fallacy most often describes Romantic literature and art’s use of landscape to present the emotional turmoil of the plot or main characters.  Readers and viewers intuit the correlation between the pathos of the narrative and nature’s tumult, but without a causal relationship this correlation is fallacious.

I find its application to hairstyles more intriguing.


William Blake

marcello_pythian sibyl

Marcello (Duchesse de Castiglione-Colonna), Pythian Sibyl

marie antoinette caricature

Couiffure à l’Indépendance (Marie Antoinette)


Caravaggio, Medusa


Peter Paul Rubens, The head of Medusa


Alphonse Mucha, The Seasons

roman_head of guilia di titoHead of Giuli di Tito, Roman, 1st cent. CE