France’s Louis XIV continued the rage for elaborate long hair. When his “natural glory” thinned, he resorted to wigs. The fashion spread beyond France, but not without controversy. A Massachusetts pastor’s “Essay Against Periwigs” condemned wigs as deceitful, unmanly, and against God. But like Renaissance beards, wigs signified masculinity and authority, connotations alive today in England’s judicial and political systems. In the 18th century, wigs became objects of satire. Hogarth mocks the pretentiousness of wig styles available to pompous aristocrats and men of power. His typology parodies the classical treatise on architectural orders by Roman author Vitruvius.
From the exhibition: Hair: Untangling a Social History (January 24 – June 6, 2004)