Machiavelli is not surprised with these recent North American elections. He has, after all, one whole chapter in ‘The Prince’, 1532, on how to win the power by being cruel, mendacious, hate-mongering and ruthless. He considers this tactic to be legitimate so long as the ruler executes his ruthless promises immediately.
He would approve the appointment, for instance, of a Chief White House Strategist of a man who is himself, cruel, mendacious, hate-mongering and ruthless.
However, Machiavelli is puzzled by the failure of the winning candidate to get a grip of the huge significance of his hair: the crown of one’s head.
Machiavelli’s disapproval here hardens. You can see the suspicious sneer.
Don’t, he says, underestimate the importance of image.
Portrait of a Man, tempera on panel, 1450. Andrea Del Castagno, Florence, 1417/19-1457. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
After all, the president-elect’s folded-forwards hair, dyed no. 27 Blonde Bombshell for Men, is disordered by every breeze into the mockery of his baldness.
What is he going to do on state visits to the Windy City? Or ascending and descending the steps of US Helicopter One? Does it mean something that he has always eschewed hats?
Machiavelli’s opinion is clear: best to wear wigs. Is there, he asks, anything more magnificent than these images of Elizabeth I or Louis XIV?
Power incarnate, Machiavelli advises. So important to radiate the power when one has it, like a beacon downwards from the crown of one’s head.
Armada Portrait of Elizabeth I. Unknown artist. 1588
Like the royal red one of Elizabeth I with the disciplined army of ‘Roman’ curls stuck about with pairs of pearls and crowned with a large pearl nestled in white down from one of her swans.
Pearls to the max everywhere including on the front of her dress in a large semicircle in reflection of the globe under her hand as though her body incorporated the whole world.
Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinth Regaud, 1659-1743
Nothing can diminish him even unto his form-fitting, pale blue leggings ensconced in ermine, and a silk of blue embroidered with gold fleur-de-lis. His gold shoe buckles, his proto-Christian Louboutin red heels with the delicious matching red bows to direct the eye to the restrained size and ballet pose of the royal foot. Garters woven of glinting thread of silver like the chain mail of his glorious ancestors. Deer calves to die for.