Looking for a Hat Inspiration? Best Hats from Paintings

Magda Michalska 7 March 2024 min Read

I’ve heard that this year berets are back in fashion, which makes me very happy, but if you are still looking for your perfect hat for the first windy days, have a look at these options from art history, the best hats in art.

1. Netherlandish Style

hats art
Rogier van der Weyden, Portrait of a Young Woman in a Pinned Hat, 1435, Gemäldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

No, no, no, she’s not a nun, she is a very fashionable young woman from somewhere in the Netherlands, wearing the popular back then winged bonnet, the first hat in art we present. She must be a member of the middle class, given her relatively plain dress and accentuated breasts. She might be modeled on the artist’s wife, Elisabeth Goffaert, though this has not been proven. I love the little detail of her rosary wrapped along her clasped fingers, and a small pin sticking out from the headdress.

2. Rembrandt Style

hats art
Rembrandt, Old Man with a Black Hat and Gorget, c.1631, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

I love Rembrandt’s paintings, he was a master of portraiture and fluffy hats in art! He made many self-portraits, always posing in a different hat. This time, however, he painted an elderly but still handsome man, who might have held a high-rank position (look at his fur coat!) in the military, as he was wearing a gorget, which is a steel collar designed to protect the throat.

3. Rococo Style

hats art
Thomas Gainsborough, The Blue Boy (Portrait of the Jonathan Buttall), 1770, Huntington Library, San Marino, CA, USA.

Teenagers are always the same, no matter whether they grow up in the 18th or 21st century: always have to do on the contrary! Why isn’t Jonathan wearing his fantastic big hat for this portrait? Is it for his carefully arranged locks? Although the hat is not so visible here, I couldn’t stop myself from showing you this proud painting, because the Blue Boy definitely doesn’t lack in confidence, nor in style.

4. Secession Style

hats art Egon Schiele, Woman with Black Hat, 1909, Private Collection, hats from painting
Egon Schiele, Woman with Black Hat, 1909, private collection. WikiArt.

Although Egon Schiele‘s works are categorized as Expressionist, this early painting from 1909 shows how much he was inspired by Art Nouveau of Vienna. Can you see the Klimt-like geometrical design of the object the woman is holding (who can tell me what this is?! At first I thought it was her second scarf but I doubt it…), as well as the golden background. She is so stylish that I want to move to Vienna in 1909 at this instant. Who’s going with me?

5. Dada Style

hats art Jean (Hans) Arp, Mustache Hat (Schnurrhut), 1923, from Merz 5. 7 Arpaden by Hans Arp. Arp Portfolio. Second Portfolio of the Merz Publisher (Merz 5. 7 Arpaden von Hans Arp. Arp Mappe. Zweite Mappe des Merzverlages), hats from paintings
Jean (Hans) Arp, Mustache Hat (Schnurrhut), 1923, from Merz 5. 7 Arpaden by Hans Arp. Arp Portfolio, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, USA. Museum’s website.

For anyone who has ever wanted to have a mustache: get a mustache hat instead, like the hat in the art of Jean Arp! It’s a perfect choice for November since it’s a beard and mustache month with Movember, a campaign raising awareness about men’s health. This is a good option for girls who want to participate!

6. Futurist Style

hats art
Umberto Boccioni, Modern Idol, 1911, Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art, London, UK.

To be honest, I’m not surprised that this lady was called by Boccioni a modern idol: her hat is just stunning! It’s basically rich in various flowers bouquet, animated by the evening streetlights. To complete the image, wear a single pearl earring, a furry collar, and bright red lipstick. An idea for a Saturday night out!

We hope you enjoyed our selection of hats in art!

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