Machiavelli is not, on the face of it, disapproving of the undermining of the institutions of State by the Man in Power in the United States, of the 21,000 lies he has told since his accession to power.
The political analyst and councillor has, after all, one whole chapter in ‘The Prince’, 1532, on how to win the power by being cruel, mendacious, hate-mongering and ruthless.
Election poster, Philadelphia, 2020
He considers this tactic to be legitimate so long as the ruler executes his ruthless promises immediately.
The only promise executed by the Man in Power in the United States is the one that has promised chaos and misgovernance.
This isn’t what Machiavelli meant. He was a professional. He was talking about governance and the techniques to retain power.
Machiavelli is puzzled by the failure of the man in power 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.
Portrait of a Man, tempera on panel, 1450. Andrea Del Castagno, Florence, 1417/19-1457. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
Don’t, he says, underestimate the importance of the crown of one’s head. Crown, he says: kingly.
From that crown, he says, the eye flows down the kingly body and one is put in one’s place: admiring, willing to follow, to obey, to sing praises of……..
After all, the Man in Power’s folded-forwards hair, dyed no. 27 Blonde Bombshell for Men, is disordered by every breeze into a mockery of a powerful man, in control of himself and of everything and everyone around.
Machiavelli’s opinion is clear: best to wear wigs. Controllable. Inert. As high as you want. Never ruffled by the elements.
Easy to decorate with signifiers for every symbolic occasion.
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
Portrait of Louis XIV by Hyacinth Regaud, 1659-1743
Like Louis XIV, le Roi Soleil.
The king with his high hair framed by a gold necklace with a pendant gold cross. Hair that is rich and brown and abundant and giving as the soil of la douce France, la France profonde et bien aimee.
Blonde? Out of the question here.
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.