A Quiet Word With: B4-XVI’s @ceciliaazcarate

This week I had a chat with the talented CECILIA AZCARATE, the woman behind the B4-XVI tumblr, which aims to ‘highlight an invisible conversation between hip hop and art before the 16th century’.

@ceciliaazcarateHistory Mine: What was the moment of inspiration for this account?

CECILIA AZCARATE: Virgin and Child Enthroned with Scenes from the Life of the Virgin Morata Master (Spanish, Aragonese, late 15th century). The painting inspired the project, I saw it at the Met Museum. I saw the hat on the floor and on the guy to the right, that look like supreme hats, and after that started collecting other similarities.

Virgin and Child Enthroned

HM: What is your favourite comparison?

CA: I really like the Van Eyck ATL Twins one cause the Van Eyck is so famous and they are so unique and it’s funny to give it a new meaning.

HM: It could be argued you’re saying that rappers have a medieval attitude. How would you respond to that?

CA: I would argue that rappers have the most swag now a days, just like the people in those paintings. They were painted to be remembered. It was a time where creating an image was super time consuming so it meant a lot that those people got their image painted they were super important and some of them changed the world.

I’m also using a lot of masterpieces like Van Eyck, Fra Angelico the most important painters in europe in that time. So I see it more as a tribute to the artists to compare them to such masterpieces. I think it goes both directions.

Hugo van der Goes Vs Wiz Khalifa
Left: Detail from The Adoration of the Magi. Hugo van der Goes. Netherlandish. Late 15th century / Right: Wiz Khalifa

HM: On the other hand, do you think historical figures behaved more like rappers?

CA: I think they just had swag and power and money, and that is where the similarities come from.

HM: Which historical figure would fit in best with the modern rap game?

CA: Louis XVI and Henry VIII and all of them were so decadent they would have thrown mad parties and invited everyone.

Left: Henry VIII by the studio of Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540-1550 / Right: Rick Ross.
Left: Henry VIII by the studio of Hans Holbein the Younger, 1540-1550 / Right: Rick Ross.

Imagine if Louis XVI was alive, of course Kanye would be playing in Versailles.

Now go and check out CECILIA’s sick tumblr! And if you like the idea of hip hop history, you might also enjoy our interview with Epic Rap Battles of History’s Nice Peter.

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