Some people like to pigeonhole the bearded man into a few types: tough, rugged, practical. Heck, we’ll take it. Those are all good things. These guys were probably all of those things, but they also broke the mold. Beards and mustaches come in all varieties, and so do the men who choose not to shave them off. So here we present 5 artists worth learning a little about, not just for their artistic works, but also for their awesome facial hair.
No, this isn’t Godzilla’s pteranodon friend (and sometime foe). Sculptor Auguste Rodin, the birthday boy who inspired this post, was a working class kid who grew up to produce some of the most iconic and iconoclastic art of his generation. But he also rocked one of the greatest beards of his era. He wore a goatee in his youth, but as he aged he let it grow and never looked back, sometimes even cropping his hair close. proving a shockingly modern sensibility in both his art and his beard and hair styles.
The clown prince of comic book artists and a mainstay at MAD Magazine, the one and only Sergio Aragonés has maintained one of the art world’s most iconic mustaches. Especially in his early days, he could often be seen twirling up the corners like Dali, though Sergio has always favored a much fuller, more robust ‘stache. Best known for creating the comic Groo the Wanderer, Sergio and his mustache are still going strong, having just published a crossover comic with Conan the Barbarian.
Chuck Close is the godfather of large-scale photorealistic art and a champion of the rugged virtue of hard work over the myth of inspiration. Well, let’s let Chuck say it himself:
I always thought that inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.
Throughout his career he’s made a number of self portraits, and he’s shown a lot faces, running the gamut from mustache, to goatee, to full beard. In his later career, Close suffered a seizure that left him partially paralyzed, but he’s continued to work, adapting new methods to continue producing incredible art in different ways.
Edward Gorey is best known for his twisted children’s books in the tradition of Lewis Carrol and Edward Lear, but he also designed the titles for PBS Mystery! as well as dozens of classic paperback book covers. For all of his gothic associataions, Gorey always looked more like a fisherman with a full, natural beard. He narrowly edged out two other epic (and epically weird) illustrators in Shel Silverstein and Maurice Sendak to make this list.
Eadward Muybridge was known for the photography of the American West, but most importantly as the father of motion photography. Having taken up photography after a serious accident and acquired a number of patents, he pioneered such techniques as time-lapse and panoramic photography, but you probably know him for series like the Horse in Motion. His life also had it’s share of tragedy and controversy, but there’s no denying the power of his images and that classical full beard.
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Filed under: Beards in History