BEARDS, NATIONALIST AND PATRIOTIC

beards
Top row: Janos Kovács, Walter Crane, Jenő Radisics.
Bottom Row: Emperor Franz Josef, Lajos Kossuth, Count Gyula Andrássy
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Someone commented that the picture of Janos Kovács in  my recent  post showed him with a beard similar to the young Freud’s and wondered, “Was it the fashion at the time?” Freud and Kovács had thick black beards that not all men were gifted with and fashion had to adapt to nature.

There are pictures of the Englishman Walter Crane and his Hungarian colleague Jenő Radisics taken somewhat later, in 1911, showing them with quite different beards, Crane with a Vandyke and exaggerated moustaches, and Radisics with an exceptionally fine Franz Josef.

Being clean shaven marked you as either a conservative or a clergyman: liberals wore beards. Garibaldi, Mazzini and Cavour were all bearded, and the extent of their facial hair seems to be correlated directly with their radicalism. After the defeat of liberal Hungary in 1849, the Kossuth beard, with the chin neatly shaved, became a national symbol and was banned by the Austrians. Count Andrássy, the first Hungarian Prime Minister after the 1867 settlement, had complicated facial hair in which some of his chin was shaved but not all, a combination of the Vandyke and the Franz Josef.

Alexander Maxwell, who writes about politics, culture and fashion in central Europe, has touched on this in “The Handsome Man with Hungarian Moustache and Beard: National Moustaches in Habsburg Hungary”.

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