Daisy Buchanan said “I always watch for the longest day of the year and then miss it.” Well, friends, I always plan for National Redhead Day and then miss it. But not this year. It’s today! I’m celebrating with red wine and red vines. Because I’m classy.
Like fanny packs or white-washed jeans, red hair goes in and out of style in art. For instance, Pre-Raphaelite artists loved painting redheads. Why? Nobody knows. We can only assume some redheaded witch cast a spell on them. Here are three paintings featuring gingers.
John William Waterhouse painted redheads like Squid Game kills characters off. Easily and often. He loved painting mythological figures and creatures! He painted A Mermaid in 1901. His most famous redhead painting is Lady of Shalott, which I love so much I recreated it during quarantine when I had nothing better to do than paddle around in a canoe with candles and blankets. But I’d like to feature another painting of his, that I like just as much.
In The Tempest, Miranda is a compassionate, kind character, which is another reason I love this painting. Often redheads are witches or villains or have questionable morals. Case in point- Waterhouse also portrayed Lamia as a redhead and she was a child eating demon. So. When there is a good redhead in media, I just can’t resist her!
Historically, Mary Magdalene has also been portrayed with red hair. Along with Judas, Eve (after the fall), and sometimes Abel (after he killed his brother). I told you! We get a bad rap. Mary Magdalene turned out to be a gem though, and Frederick Sandys painted her beautifully. The model was probably Lizzie Siddal, who modeled for everyone who was anyone in the Pre-Raphaelite era.
Wikipedia thinks this is a sensual portrayal, but I sort of think she looks like she’s about to be sick in the alabaster jar. Opinions? I do like the eyebrows he gave her because they are faint like mine. Like she also has to add color to them before parent teacher conferences or tailgating or whatever redheads did back then.
If this next one looks familiar, it’s because you’ve visited my “About Me” page! But I promise I’m nothing like Lilith, who was horrible. In Jewish culture she was Adam’s first wife and a self-absorbed seductress and murderer. And those are the kinder descriptions.
This painting is a great example of Pre-Raphaelite art. There were lots of redheads, but does anybody every talk about the abundance of candelabras? Freckleless faces? Flowy dresses? Flowers? How women loved to play with their hair or hold something close to their chest?! What a time!
Happy National Redhead Day! You don’t need permission from a redhead to celebrate, but if you feel you do, here it is! Tell me how you are celebrating today!