Beyoncé - a Renaissance Madonna?

For Phillip Prodger, head of photographs at the National Portrait Gallery in London, the image is a direct reference to the Madonna. “It’s a wonderfully clever blend of references, showing Beyoncé as a Renaissance Madonna,” he tells TIME.

Here’s fun: earlier in the week Beyoncé Knowles (no relation) announced she was pregnant with twins by releasing a picture of herself on her Instagram account. That picture has since smashed records for the app, and is currently sitting very pretty indeed with well over 9 million likes – the most of any image on the platform. 

I’ll admit that when I saw the shot, I smiled a little at the news, thought the delivery was a bit over the top, then quite happily moved on. But now I’ve come across this article, and I’ve thought twice about it. Phillip Prodger, a portrait expert and head of photographs at the NPG has analysed the image from an accessible art historical point of view, and, put simply, it’s fab.

Popular social media and cultural insight – two of my favourite worlds colliding. Thanks, Queen B.

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