DRAWING LIFE by fred hatt


The Artist’s Beard

Filed under: Art History,Collections of Images — Tags: , — fred @ 00:19

Fred Hatt, b. 1958, artist and blogger, self-portrait photo 2011 by Fred Hatt

This is a first for Drawing Life – a men’s style post.  Artists, writers, and musicians create not only a body of work but also a persona.  The possibilities are broad, but the options are naturally constrained by the face and body Nature has given.  As I have found myself becoming a bearish middle-aged man, my own style has gravitated towards a classic type.  The trimmed beard I had ten years ago has expanded to what is now known on the interwebs as an “epic beard”.  It covers my double chin and also serves as a tribute to my many artistic forebears, artists whose fulfillment manifested in silverback gravitas rather than studly cutness or prettyboy romance.  So here is a fairly arbitrary selection of bearded males (and one female) of the creative bent, presented in completely random order.  What a great opportunity to put myself in the context of the greats!

Hermeto Pascoal, b. 1936, composer and musician, photographer unknown

Daniel Day-Lewis, b. 1957, actor, photo by John Spellman/Retna Ltd.

Ernest Hemingway, 1899-1961, writer, photo by Yousuf Karsh

Luciano Pavarotti, 1935-2007, singer, photographer unknown

Jim Henson, 1936-1990, puppeteer, photographer unknown

Thelonious Monk, 1917-1982, composer and musician, photographer unknown

George Carlin, 1937-2008, comedian and writer, photographer unknown

George Bernard Shaw, 1856-1950, playwright, photographer unknown

Albrecht Dürer, 1471-1528, painter and artist, self-portrait

Auguste Rodin, 1840-1917, sculptor and artist, photo by Nadar

George Clinton, b. 1941, musician and bandleader, photo by Marcy Guiragossian/Marcy G. Photography

Constantin Brancusi, 1876-1957, sculptor, photo by Edward Steichen

Toshiro Mifune, 1920-1997, actor, still from Red Beard, directed by Akira Kurosawa

Erik Satie, 1866-1925, composer and musician,photographer unknown

Charles Dickens, 1812-1870, writer, photo by Jeremiah Gurney

Allen Ginsberg, 1926-1997, poet, photographer unknown

Devendra Banhart, b. 1981, singer-songwriter, photographer unknown

Ai Weiwei, b. 1957, artist and activist, photographer unknown

Sergei Parajanov, 1924-1990, film director and artist, photographer unknown

Walt Whitman, 1819-1892, poet, photo by Matthew Brady

Isaac Hayes, 1942-2008, songwriter and musician, photographer unknown

Vincent van Gogh, 1853-1890, painter, self-portrait

Alan Moore, b. 1953, writer, photographer unknown

Hans Holbein the Younger, 1497-1543, painter, self-portrait

Oliver Sacks, b. 1933, neurologist and writer, photographer unknown

John Lennon, 1940-1980, songwriter and musician, photographer unknown

Jennifer Miller, b. 1961, performer and writer, photographer unknown

Claude Monet, 1840-1926, painter, photo by Nadar

Terry Riley, b. 1935, composer, photo by Lenny Gonzalez

Salman Rushdie, b. 1947, writer, 1992 photo by Andy Ross

Frederick Douglass, 1818-1895, writer and statesman, photographer unknown

Johannes Brahms, 1833-1897, composer, photograph by C. Brasch

Jerzy Grotowski, 1933-1999, theater director, photographer unknown

Stanley Kubrick, 1928-1999, film director, photographer unknown

Leo Tolstoy, 1828-1910, writer, photographer unknown

Gustav Klimt, 1862-1918, painter, photographer unknown

The beard is naturally an expression of masculinity and maturity.  It also seems to denote sensitivity in a man of rough or plain features.  Imagine many of the men in these photos clean shaven, and see how their power, like that of the shorn Samson, is diminished.

All photos, besides the one of me, were found on the web.  Clicking on the photo links to its source.

Of course this collection is arbitrary and incomplete.  Feel free to use comments to nominate worthy bearded artists I’ve omitted.



  1. Fred, this was so much fun! What excellent images you collected. I really like the one of Brancusi, I hadn’t seen it before. He had a great face.

    I have just one contribution to the list. These guys:




    Comment by Claudia — 2011/07/05 @ 10:26

  2. Thanks, Claudia. The ZZ Top guys definitely had magnificent beardage, and they deserve special credit for having huge beards when it wasn’t at all in fashion!

    Comment by fred — 2011/07/05 @ 18:30

  3. Great pictures! Very interesting and entertaining! :)

    Comment by suedoe — 2011/07/05 @ 12:14

  4. Thanks, Sue! Welcome to Drawing Life!

    Comment by fred — 2011/07/05 @ 18:31

  5. I got a couple of comments on Facebook from women speculating about female beards, so I added to the post a picture of Jennifer Miller, a lovely real woman with a real natural beard. Affirmative action!

    Comment by fred — 2011/07/05 @ 19:05

  6. This post is awesome, Fred. I will look at your beard in a whole new way. Of course, none of these individuals could get elected president. I am looking forward to a bearded/mustachioed president, even if they might be a damnable anarchist.

    Comment by Daniel Maidman — 2011/07/06 @ 10:53

  7. Daniel, it could happen. Remember Abe Lincoln? Quite a few U. S. Presidents in the 19th century had facial hair. Wikipedia, of course, has an article on the subject, with a table and extensive references: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Presidents_of_the_United_States_with_facial_hair . And there are several bearded corporate CEOs out there. A president or any politician that was an artist would be far more unlikely than one with a beard. Although, of course, both Hitler and Churchill were painters.

    Comment by fred — 2011/07/06 @ 20:16

  8. That’s certainly a spectacular selection of beards! I can vouch that Alan Moore’s beard is as impressive in real life (as is yours, of course :) )

    Comment by Jennifer — 2011/07/27 @ 03:31

  9. Jennifer, thanks. I’ve only seen Alan Moore’s beard in pictures!

    The New York Times just printed this amusing fashion article on beards: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/28/fashion/what-your-beard-says-about-you-the-mirror.html

    But I have to say, its author is far too concerned with trends. Shaving off a beard because it goes out of style is a very weak move. In this post, I’m trying to make a case for the timelessness of the style!

    Comment by fred — 2011/07/28 @ 23:56

  10. I love the wise-old man look that long beards give people.. I’ll definitely get one when it starts coming out white!

    Comment by beetrim — 2011/10/24 @ 19:20

  11. L like ulhde- that`s a mustache thats difficult get past- one could keep thin–

    Comment by helen barndt — 2012/01/31 @ 17:44

  12. Helen, I wonder if your comment got garbled or cut off. I don’t know who or what Ulhde is, but thanks for commenting.

    Comment by fred — 2012/02/01 @ 00:53

  13. […] deles tem vários artistas e suas barbas, conta inclusive com o brasileiro Hermeto […]

    Pingback by Tipos e formatos de rostos e a barba certa para usar | PostMania — 2012/09/27 @ 07:27

  14. Photograph of Salman Rushdie is by me. (Andy Ross) Taken at Cody’s Books circa 1992

    Comment by Andy Ross — 2012/11/20 @ 23:07

  15. Thank you, Andy! I always want to provide correct attribution to images reproduced here. Unfortunately on the web it is far to easy for the information to be separated from the pictures. I’ve updated the caption and linked the photo to your website.

    Comment by Fred Hatt — 2012/11/21 @ 11:44

  16. Hello Fred, I was researching images of bearded men I want to paint and stumbled over yours. Do you mind if I use your photograph on top of this page to get me practicing again and post the process on my blog? Thank You for letting me know. Good luck with your work. Kat

    Comment by Katerina — 2014/01/11 @ 15:10

  17. Katerina, you’re welcome to use my picture. Send me a link to your blog!

    Comment by Fred Hatt — 2014/01/12 @ 19:42

  18. Oh Thank you very much Fred, that’s great! My blog is http://www.katdesigner.wordpress.com

    Comment by Kat — 2014/01/16 @ 13:17

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