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Beyoncé in a museum? About damn time! The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery just acquired one of the songstress’s portraits from Vogue magazine. Up-and-coming photographer Tyler Mitchell shot the image last year. The fashion bible subsequently used it as part of their cover story in their legendary September 2018 issue. Unsurprisingly, the issue became one of their best-selling in recent years. 

The portrait in-question features Knowles-Carter in a metallic Valentino dress and Gilded headdress. Her look almost echoes that of her iconic religious-like garb when she performed at the 2017 Grammy Awards whilst pregnant. Here, however, her tailor-fit ensemble highlighted her stunning post-babies (she gave birth to twins) body. She’s also leaning on a floral-decorated Grecian column that gives a pop of color against the neutral background. As for her hair, she kept it relatively simple with a half-up-half-down style, allowing her blonde locks to cascade by her shoulders. She’s also giving a stern expression on her face, slightly juxtaposed with her seemingly innocent pose. 

Leslie Ureña, the associate curator of photographs at the Smithsonian, shared more about the acquisition. “This particular work brought us closer to Beyoncé’s words, appearing within the magazine’s pages, and showing us more of the historic shoot,” she relayed. It’s one of their very few acquired images from the beloved fashion publication. The museum plans to officially include the image in their national collection later this year. However, they also noted that the photograph won’t be on display permanently. It’s highly likely they’ll only bring it out for public viewing during special exhibitions, important holidays, and the like. This image holds historic significance as it’s part of Vogue’s first-ever cover story captured by an African-American photographer. And he’s a young up-and-comer at that! Tyler Mitchell is only in his early twenties yet he has already shot major campaigns and editorials. The Vogue gig was one his firsts, as well as jobs for the likes of Marc Jacobs and Converse. “A year ago today we broke the flood gates open. Now I’m glad to share this picture is being acquired into the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection.” he shared on an Instagram post. He recently posted the aforementioned portrait on the social media platform. 

Beyoncé herself has yet to comment on this acquisition. But recently, she and her sister Solange Knowles have teamed up and contributed to various art institutions. Just this year, the latter partnered up with a number of museums to premiere an extended version of her film, “When I Get Home”. She’s collaborated with MCA Chicago, Brooklyn Museum LACMA, MFA Houston, and even the V&A in London for this project. As for her big sister, she famously rented out the entire Louvre Museum in Paris to shoot her famous music video, “Apeshit” with her husband, Jay-Z Carter. It featured most of the iconic artworks in that beloved institution. For now, the Smithsonian still has no date as to when they’ll release Beyoncé’s Vogue portrait for public viewing. But they assured fans and visitors that it will go up sometime this year. Stay tuned on this space to learn more updates.

Image Credits:

  1. Beyonce Featured Image – Hollywood Holler.com
  2. Singer Beyonce in Vogue – Vogue.com
  3. Jay-Z and Beyonce in Apeshit – Nolala.com