Cecilia Azcarate

What do pre-16th century art and 2CHAINZ have in common?

Swagger. Mega swagger.

New York based creative Cecilia Azcarate first made that connection after moving to Belgium from France, where she grew up playing the violin and doing all those quintessentially European things. Once in Belgium, she would take work off just to stay in the museums studying Flemish painters for days on end.

Being a fan of hip-hop, she couldn't help but to see the similarities between the pieces and her favorite artists.

“I started wondering if there was a timeless iconography of cool,” she told Fusion. “The people shown in the paintings were all people of power, and so are the rappers and how they are portrayed.”

Out of this sprang a delicious little Tumblr called B4-16 (abbreviation for "Before 16th Century") that juxtaposes rappers alongside the works of classical masters.


“I like to think of it as an entry for people who don’t have access to either of those worlds. It works both ways,” she said. "The fur and the chains. That stuff is universal."

Below are some samples of these fantastical pairings.

Left: Quentin Massys. Ecce Homo-1520 - Right: 2 Chainz


Left: detail of Christ Blessing surrounded by a Donor Family. Unknown German Painter 1560 - Right: Kanye West

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


Left: Male Ancestor. 1st–4th century. Mesoamerica. Nayarit - Right: Young Thug


Left: Pre Colombian - Moche portrait head of ‘Cut Lip’ 400 AD - Right: ASAP Rocky

Left: Reliquary arm of St. Valentine 14th century Swiss Right: 2 Chainz


Presented without comment

Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.