Awol Erizku’s Beyoncé Pregnant: a pop Madonna

Skye Sherwin
Awol Erizku’s Beyoncé Pregnant: a pop Madonna. The singer resembles a Renaissance Virgin Mary but with a sexual edge in this Instagram photograph

Boom! …

Artist Awol Erizku’s 2017 portrait of Beyoncé pregnant with twins scored 10m likes when it landed on Instagram in 2017, the most an image had ever had on the platform.

Flower power …

It casts the singer as a Renaissance Madonna, with the bower of blooms recalling the painted garlands that frame certain old master depictions of the original holy mother and child.

Mother superior …

Turning white art history to the service of a modern-day black icon has an obvious political kick. Meanwhile, the Virgin’s traditional garb gets a glamour shoot makeover, with a sheer veil and her blue and red colour scheme repeated in the frilly undies. Beyoncé’s maternal power is clearly sexual.

Bare necessity …

Back in 1991, Annie Leibovitz’s Vanity Fair cover shot of a naked, pregnant Demi Moore caused a global scandal. Today, as Queen Bey’s portrait firmly underlines, bared baby bumps are about social status. The only real controversy is the impossible standard of female perfection all the glossy self-promotion sets.

Included in Portraying Pregnancy, The Foundling Museum, WC1, Fri to 26 Apr