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08 Beyoncé

3 icons glorified on Beyoncé’s new album cover

Music

Last Thursday, June 30, Beyoncé revealed on her social media the sublime, sensual, and disco cover of her new album Renaissance, coming out on July 29 . The cover artwork made by the Dutch photographer based in Paris Carlijn Jacobs is full of symbols. Here is why.

The cover of Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance @ Carlijn Jacobs The cover of Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance @ Carlijn Jacobs
The cover of Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance @ Carlijn Jacobs

1. A tribute to Lady Godiva

 

On the cover her new album Renaissance due out on July 29th, Beyoncé is seating naked atop a horse and looking like a painting. And not just any painting. One can note that the image recalls the Pre- Raphaelite canvas Lady Godiva by the 19th century English painter John Collier. A mysterious figure of the 11th century, Godiva used to be the wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia and Lord of Coventry, England. The legend says that she rode on horseback across that English town completely naked, aside from her long hair covering her breasts, to convince her husband to reduce the taxes he levied on its inhabitants. Legend has it that her husband finally gave in and abolished the taxes. This Game of Thrones-like ride has inspired Beyoncé’s fans. Comments spring out on social media, such as “let's send Beyoncé to march naked in front of the Supreme Court so they can change the abortion laws”. It further reinforces Beyoncé’s political impact as a powerful ally of the Black Lives Matter movement and a seasoned feminist.

2. A reference to Bianca Jagger’s magical appearance at Studio 54

 

It was one of the wildest nights at Studio 54, one of the showy institutions of New York nightlife. For her birthday party in 1977, lawyer, fashion icon, actress, and wife of Mick Jagger, Bianca Jagger, rode a white horse across the dance floor brought by the club owners who knew she loved animals. This epic moment of the disco era is fully in line with the themes tackled in Beyoncé’s new album Renaissance. Driven by the house single Break my Soul, the album is set to be hedonistic and dancefloor-friendly. Along with the cover artwork, Beyoncé explained on an Instagram post that she wanted to create a safe space with this album – “A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking. A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration. I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.” To feel free to be whoever you want to be, far from the conventions, once the lights go down... The disco movement’s greatest lesson!

3. A Grace Jones-like version of the myth of Joan of Arc

 

With her silver stilettos and her Alien or Mad Max-inspired mini-armor metallic corset designed by American artist Nusi Quero with a 3D printer, Beyoncé stands at the crossroads between Joan of Arc and Grace Jones. While the singer invites us to dance to her single Break my Soul, like Jean-Paul Goude’s muse and performer of Nightclubbing did before her, she also urges us to think and fight against today’s gloomy times. In the lyrics of this song, the pop star recommends her audience to fall in love, to work less, to forget about the stress, and to even quit their job. Her hit has thus become the anthem of the “Great Resignation”, named after the social movement that emerged at the beginning of the pandemic in the United States, and which TikTok witnessed. Disappointed by the lack of meaning in their jobs, many American employees started to massively resign. Like Joan of Arc, the French badass historical icon, war leader, and Saint of the Catholic Church who helped turn the tide of the Hundred Years’ War, Beyoncé is a fighting, feminist, avant-garde, courageous, and sexy heroine. In our current difficult times, marked by the war in Ukraine, the pandemic, the deterioration of women’s rights, she invites the world to commune to the sound of her powerful voice on her cathartic house music. Her best weapon, apart from her frenzied hips dance moves.

 

Renaissance (2022) by Beyoncé, coming out on July 29 th .