Oh Nicki Minaj. You're so cute and crafty. You've explored every futuristic look known to man, and so now you're looking to the past for inspiration. Like the cover to the latest issue of W mag, and its accompanying photoshoot, which was worked by artist Francesco Vizzoli into something positively Victorian.
"I wanted to play with the public image of a female hip-hop star. 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."
"In my most recent works, for example, I transformed Princess Caroline of Hanover into a Garbo-esque Queen Christina, I asked actress Eva Mendes to become three symbols of classical sculpture (Venus, Saint Teresa, and Paolina Borghese), and I framed Lady Gaga into a de Chirico–inspired robotic extravaganza. For W, I wanted to turn the lovely Nicki Minaj into a powdered 18th-century courtesan."
"In her performances, Minaj makes very explicit and challenging use of her beauty and her body, so I thought of comparing her to 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. We tried to re-create those original portraits using similar furniture, props, and clothing, à la Visconti. Luckily enough, the result came out as surreal as it could be, just as I wished."
Got all that?