Nicki Minaj shows off her latest work of art in a new photo shoot for W Magazine. Hip-hop’s reigning queen graces the cover of the publication’s “Art & Fashion” issue. The Young Money raptress transforms into an 18th-century courtesan courtesy of Francesco Vezzoli, who is known for linking contemporary icons such as Courtney Love and Natalie Portman with historic representations of women in art.
“I wanted to play with the public image of a female hip-hop star,” said the Italian artist. “During my entire career, I have always been fascinated by powerful women in history. I have spent a lot of time researching the ways they were represented in art and how their images were used to mold the public imagination—and to convey aesthetic and philosophical ideas about beauty and sexual desire. My main interest has been to link the historical artistic approach to female representation to contemporary icons of the media era.”
Madame Barb takes on the role of some of the most famous courtesans in history: the Marquise de Montespan, Comtesse du Barry, Madame de Pompadour, and Madame Rimsky-Korsakov. “My idea was to reproduce four iconic portraits of some of the most fascinating females of the past in a series starring an American pop-culture role model,” explained Vezzoli.
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