Check out the connections between rappers and ancient art

A Tumblr of rappers and their pre-16th century analogues.

In Tumblr’s brief-but-vibrant history of visual mash-ups, we don’t think we’ve seen something this interesting: New York-based art director Cecilia Azcarate recently launched B4XVI, which highlights “an invisible conversation between hip hop and art before the 16th century.”

“I got interested in the iconography of power,” Azcarate tells Dazed. After seeing the furs, chains and gold depicted in Italian and Flemish paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, she wondered, “Is there a timeless representation of swag?”

The project has since expanded to include pre-Columbian art, as suggested by film director Ferdinando Verderi. “People represented in these paintings and sculptures were not there by chance,” she says. “They were people of power, being it religious of political, or economical. Intellectuals, gods, saints, and people whose fame survived their lives. Today we call them celebrities.”

“Hip–hop is not afraid of showing pride for its own power, and to translate that into an aesthetic of regality which is beautiful and timeless. You won’t find this in rockstar nor in politicians,” she maintains. Need further proof? Head to B4XVI or check out some of our favorites here.

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