Obelisk Art History
Themes in Art

Get your head in the game

If there’s something missing from contemporary life, aside from confidence in our leaders and a large portion of the world’s glaciers, it’s fashionable headwear. In 1954, in the United States, the now ubiquitous baseball cap was popularized by players of the eponymous sport, and today, the cotton cap with the adjustable brim has become an unavoidable head-borne virus worldwide. So, let us invite you into an archive of headwear spanning 3500 years. You’ll see broad brims and flouncy bonnets, peasant cowls and Germany’s Neolithic golden cones. We humbly offer this library as inspiration to you dear reader, and hope it sparks the desire to usher in a new era of wild, diverse and extravagant headwear.

Reed Enger, "Hats, Get your head in the game," in Obelisk Art History, Published September 18, 2015; last modified February 04, 2020, http://arthistoryproject.com/subjects/hats/.

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Antonin Proust, Édouard Manet

Antonin Proust

Édouard Manet, 1880
Anxiety, Edvard Munch


Edvard Munch, 1894
Arnolfini Portrait, Jan Van Eyck

Arnolfini Portrait

Jan Van Eyck, 1434
Avanton Gold Cone, Bronze Age

Avanton Gold Cone

1000 BCE-900 BCE
Berlin Gold Hat, Bronze Age

Berlin Gold Hat

1000 BCE-800 BCE
Child in Sombrero, Tina Modotti

Child in Sombrero

Tina Modotti, c. 1927
Elles (portfolio cover), Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Elles (portfolio cover)

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1896
Femme debout à la capeline, Marie Laurencin

Femme debout à la capeline

Marie Laurencin, 1913
Fortune Teller, Caravaggio

Fortune Teller

Caravaggio, 1594
Gamin, Augusta Savage


Augusta Savage, 1929
Girl in White, Vincent Van Gogh

Girl in White

Vincent Van Gogh, 1890
Girl with a Flute, Johannes Vermeer

Girl with a Flute

Johannes Vermeer, 1665
Girl with the Red Hat, Johannes Vermeer

Girl with the Red Hat

Johannes Vermeer, 1665-1666
Girl with Yellow Hat, Norman Lewis

Girl with Yellow Hat

Norman Lewis, 1936
Golden Hat of Schifferstadt, Bronze Age

Golden Hat of Schifferstadt

1400 BCE-1300 BCE
Head of Man with Bows, Ancient Egypt

Head of Man with Bows

1479 BCE
Jeanne Pontillon Wearing a Hat, Berthe Morisot

Jeanne Pontillon Wearing a Hat

Berthe Morisot, 1893
Jolly Toper, Judith Leyster

Jolly Toper

Judith Leyster, 1629
La Plume Jaune, Jean Metzinger

La Plume Jaune

Jean Metzinger, 1912
Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly, Mary Cassatt

Lydia Crocheting in the Garden at Marly

Mary Cassatt, 1880-1880
On the Terrace at Sèvres with Fantin-Latour, Marie Bracquemond

On the Terrace at Sèvres with Fantin-Latour

Marie Bracquemond, 1880
Portrait of a Lady, Rogier van der Weyden

Portrait of a Lady

Rogier van der Weyden, 1460
Portrait of a Lady with Binoculars, Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowicz

Portrait of a Lady with Binoculars

Anna Bilińska-Bohdanowicz, 1884
Portrait of Armand Roulin, Vincent Van Gogh

Portrait of Armand Roulin

Vincent Van Gogh, 1888
Portrait of Cézanne, Camille Pissarro

Portrait of Cézanne

Camille Pissarro, 1874
Portrait of Comtesse de Cérès, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Portrait of Comtesse de Cérès

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1784
Portrait of Comtesse de la Châtre, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Portrait of Comtesse de la Châtre

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1789
Portrait of Felix Pissarro, Camille Pissarro

Portrait of Felix Pissarro

Camille Pissarro, 1881
Portrait of Freda Feldman in Basuto Hat, Irma Stern

Portrait of Freda Feldman in Basuto Hat

Irma Stern, 1943
Portrait of Marie Gabrielle de Gramont, Duchesse de Caderousse, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Portrait of Marie Gabrielle de Gramont, Duchesse de Caderousse

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1784
Portrait of Maximilian I, Albrecht Dürer

Portrait of Maximilian I

Albrecht Dürer, 1519
Portrait of Pierre Loti, Henri Rousseau

Portrait of Pierre Loti

Henri Rousseau, 1891
Portrait Of Rose Sélavy, Man Ray

Portrait Of Rose Sélavy

Man Ray, 1921
Portrait of Sir John Herschel, Julia Margaret Cameron

Portrait of Sir John Herschel

Julia Margaret Cameron, 1867
Portrait of the Artist, Mary Cassatt

Portrait of the Artist

Mary Cassatt, 1878
Portrait of the Artist's Father, Albrecht Dürer

Portrait of the Artist's Father

Albrecht Dürer, 1490
Portrait of Zacherie Zacharian, Edgar Degas

Portrait of Zacherie Zacharian

Edgar Degas, 1886
Poster for Le Divan Japonais, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Poster for Le Divan Japonais

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892-1893
Poster for the performance of Artistide Bruant, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec

Poster for the performance of Artistide Bruant

Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 1892
Red Man, Bill Traylor

Red Man

Bill Traylor, c. 1940
Self Portrait with Fedora, Edgar Degas

Self Portrait with Fedora

Edgar Degas, 1857-1858
Self-Portrait, Rembrandt van Rijn


Rembrandt van Rijn, 1660
Self-portrait, Cristóbal Rojas Poleo


Cristóbal Rojas Poleo, 1887
Self-portrait in a Straw Hat, Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun

Self-portrait in a Straw Hat

Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, 1782
Self-Portrait with Straw Boater, Gino Severini

Self-Portrait with Straw Boater

Gino Severini, 1912
Self-Portrait, 1923, Romaine Brooks

Self-Portrait, 1923

Romaine Brooks, 1923
Sir Nelson. Solid!, Barkley L. Hendricks

Sir Nelson. Solid!

Barkley L. Hendricks, 1970
The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs, Georges de La Tour

The Cheat with the Ace of Clubs

Georges de La Tour, 1630-1634
The Collector of Prints, Edgar Degas

The Collector of Prints

Edgar Degas, 1866
The Common Place, René Magritte

The Common Place

René Magritte, 1964
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