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Alyx & Catch Fire @RhesusNegatif
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Hey there, so as you might know, APES**T just dropped with a clip featuring Beyoncé and Jay-Z in the @MuseeLouvre, so I thought I'd give you a comprehensive list of the artworks featured in it, by chronological order of appearance #Apeshit #BeyonceandJayZ
This is "Apollon vainqueur du Serpent Python", by Eugène Delacroix, 1850-1851, a ceiling made for the "Galerie d'Apollon" which you can see again at 1'13.
Next we have "La vierge au coussin vert", aka The Virgin with A Green Pillow, by Andrea Solari, around 1507.
"Jupiter punissant les vices" or "Jupiter Hurling Thunderbolts at the Vices"
by Paolo Caliari, aka Veronese, 1556.
Details are seen again towards 4'07, ropes and bodyparts echoing enslaved bodies.
Next we have the Gioconda, I don't think we have to stay too long here, it is the main attraction both at the Louvre and in this video (you can spot again Veronese's painting on the left in the Gioconda's room. (you gotta appreciate how everyone got a glow up from 4 years ago)
After that we have the Winged Victory of Samothrace, also an iconic piece of the Louvre, around 200 B.C. I don't want to put in competition Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face and Beyoncé, they both did a great imitation.
The Serment of the Horatii by Jacques-Louis David, 1785.
An oath sworn as brothers, you can see the gesture echoed towards the end of the video at 4'45.
Switch to Egyptian antiquity and the Great Sphinx in the Crypt of the Louvre.
That's funny because Napoleon went to Egypt and stole a bunch of stuff (as colonial powers do) and the next artwork is the "Sacre de l'empereur Napoléon Ier et couronnement de l'impératrice Joséphine dans la cathédrale Notre-Dame de Paris, le 2 décembre 1804" by (again) David.
The Carters love that neoclassical style. Now it's about the Sabines, still by David.
The women plead for the war to stop between their husbands and fathers, a gesture put in direct confrontation to that of the black people holding their hands up at 4'45 (reminding of Formation)
The framing of the next painting, a portrait of Juliette Récamier by (you guessed it) David, 1800.
The portrait is in fact flanked by an autoportrait of David on the left and a portrait of the pope Pius VII on the right, symbolic of the male gaze and control over the female body.
But wait, let's have a tragic love story.
"Les ombres de Francesca da Rimini et de Paolo Malatesta apparaissent à Dante et à Virgile", Ary Scheffer, 1835.
A couple doomed to never be able to hold onto each other in the stream of the Inferno...
Rosso Fiorentino's "Pietà" (around 1530-1540). That's as mannerist as it gets.
In the midst of a disaster, there is a glimmer of hope, a ship on the horizon, and the whole surviving crew of La Méduse pictured in "Le Radeau de la Méduse" by Géricault (1819), holds up a black man gesturing, calling for help.
Right across from the Gioconda, there is the largest painting in the Louvre, the "The Wedding at Cana" by Veronese. And in this great big painting, a few black men, in the position of servants. So very little in the whole museum in fact
The Charging Chasseur, Géricault, 1812.
At the time, a glorification of Napoleon's conquests, soon a rememberance of the grandeur of the Empire...
Still in the race?
"Hermès rattachant sa sandale", after Lysippos (4th c. B.C.).
Incursion into the realm of Greek antiquity, but not with a god of speed in action, surprised in his trivial, material attachments. The gesture becomes that of the kneeling of the NFL athletes.
The Venus of Milo (around 1st c. B.C.), one last white icon.
And you know, jokes about not having arms and stuff.
Marie-Guillemine Benoist (a student of David), "Portrait d'une femme noire", 1800.

Yes, the portrait of a black woman, whose pose echoes that of Récamier. By a female painter, painted after the first abollition of slavery (yes because Napoleon brought it back oc)
This is the last new painting shown. No one dances or poses in front of it. A statement and homage, to the black people whose bodies have been used and abused, but whose face and identity have not been properly shown in the arts, and still now in museums.
So many things I have left unsaid! Like their presence in the dark next to the Great sphinx of Tanis resonating with the enslaved workforce used to build the Pyramids.
The headscarves worn by the dancers mimicks the shape of the fainting couch on which rests Récamier, not only pointing at the objectification of black bodies (as work force on which rests the wealthy) but also ornament (the chair is from Recamier's furniture).
oh shoot, I wanted to post that visual of the room, not a detail of the previous painting, sorry!
Of course!
The alignment is perfect with Joséphine (from a family of land and slave owners In Martinique, and whom Napoléon later divorced because she could not give him an heir), but no man comes to crown her as she is only held up by her sorority.
What inspires me about this video is not just the fact that it is set at the Louvre. It is also encouraging a way of looking at artworks that art critics or historians often gloss over. On one hand you have a postcolonial/gender studies lens with which to see the artworks.
On the other, there is the entirely subjective appreciation of a detail. I mean, Jupiter fighting off the vices may not seem that relevant. But what struck the Carters and/or the director was the expression of pain, the torn body in ropes. Someone else may have seen something
entirely different, but here it was juxtaposed with a torn black body freeing itself (again, the clip can be subjected to various interpretations). Sometimes all it takes is a detail, and it does not need to be an iconic painting, to draw our attention. And the feeling is valid.
I have not said much about the Milo's Venus, although many things could be said. A wink towards Venus Williams (I mean she might have been holding a racket)? The fact that marble statues have been held as pure because of their whiteness since neoclassics (check Winckelmann)
even though statues used to be colored. An echo to the "Black Athena" discourse (Martin Bernal, Cheick Anta Diop) whether in academics or as a militant act to give a stronger presence, influence of black culture in precolonial times.
I am also reminded of the "Black Venus", one of France's many shameful stories. Whereas the Venus de Milo is a canon of white beauty, the Venus Hottentote in the 19th century was a freakshow, a black woman whose body was then displayed in an ethnology museum after her death.
Exactly. I had written that in the first draft for my tweet about Recamier's furniture. Every aspect of the luxury celebrated (spices, coffee, sugar, woods) is dependant on colonial imperialism.
Concerning the man standing on a horse right after Géricault's chasseur, I am reminded of several things. @taylorswift13 stood on a horse in #BlankSpace parading (and parodying) her wealth. In Louisiana, homecountry of @Beyonce, Cajun Gypsy Nesters stand on horses for Mardi Gras.
But in Beyoncé's video, there is something foreboding about this black man, even though he is shown in all his dignity, dressed like a red white and blue cowboy. Someone suggested that it may have to do with the image of lynching (the tree, the scarf reminding of a noose).
I can only imagine Beyoncé and Jay-Z running around the Louvre as in Jean-Luc Godard's "Bande à Part" while the camera is not rolling
#ApeSht #EverythingIsLove
Precious corrections and insights by @glowlala about Beyoncé's family origin, the intertwined history of France🇫🇷 , Haïti 🇭🇹, Texas and the USA as seen in the color pattern of the black cowhand's clothes.
Great thread 🙌🏽👇🏽(follow @blackblossomss for that much needed intersectionality in the art world!)
2 black French contemporary artists appear in the clip:
➡️Josepha Madoki, dancer and choreographer, waacking at 4'00
French article here :…
➡️Francis Kalu Essoua @enfant_precoce, painter
(via @Ah_Mais_Lis)
Quoted in @thelilynews neswletter 📧✍🏽 by the @washingtonpost.
You can check it here for other and more developed insights on @Beyonce's video and the featured artworks
Check the perfect thread by @itsmeheidi_h mentioned in the newsletter as well...
So many things in @museummammy's thread! It's gold.
References to artists, parallels, reflexion on the place of black people within the institutions, in the art but also in the rooms and behind the scenes :
Indeed. I am sorry for the misinformation. While slavery existed in Egypt, slaves did not build the pyramids. However, I think the imagery can still be interpreted as such when considering how deeply rooted the idea is in popular culture (mine as well)
This great article mentions the sphinx as an Afrocentric revendication (see Anta Diop & Black Egyptian hypothesis). Popular culture, my ignorance on the subject and biased eurocentric pov led me to interpret it as slave imagery, which is far off 🙇🏽‍♀️
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