In Europe, the news that Beyoncé and Jay Z, the world’s major music power couple, are trying to rent the Roman Coliseum, the Italian capital's most famous historic landmark, to film a new video, has been received with mixed reactions.A first attempt by the couple to privately take over the Coliseum for the night of July 7 had been denied by Italian officials due to a simple scheduling conflict: The ancient monument had already been reserved by Alberto Angela, a popular, media friendly paleontologist specializing, among other things, in the Roman Empire.
But the Carters, as the celebrity couple is known, were not deterred by that refusal and are still negotiating for a new filming date, according to the Italian press.
“Nothing seems too good or too big for them,” comments Le Point of France, where they caused a stir in May after it became public that they had arranged the filming of a video inside the Louvre Museum. “An umpteenth way to prove to the world that they are a couple of imperial singers, certainly.”
Some music commentators see the couple’s efforts to film pop music videos at globally recognized, venerable art institutions as a new step in a joint career that more than most mixes celebrity, money and megalomania.
According to Forbes Jay Z and Beyoncé together are worth $1.3 billion.
It's been reported that the couple counts on the support of the Italian Minister of Culture, which thinks their Coliseum video would serve as great advertising with their young fans.
If they arrive at a deal, filming likely won't occur before the end of their tour, On The Road, which finishes in Seattle on October 4.
Last May, France was stunned after it went viral that the couple had managed to shoot in complete secrecy a video for their latest album in the world’s most famous museum in Paris.
They filmed Apeshit at the Louvre at night and in the greatest discretion. The video, scored by French critics as “the height of the megalomania of Beyoncé and Jay-Z,” shows them and their troupe dancing and singing in front of various iconic works including the "Mona Lisa" and Jacques Louis David’s "The Coronation of Napoleon."
Apeshit, which has been translated into French as Excitation Sauvage, is the second track on their joint new album, Everything is Love. It was shot in the galleries and the plaza outside the museum and is a six-minute video that begins with the Carters standing in front of the Mona Lisa - Beyoncé in a lavender pantsuit and Jay-Z in a light green suit - with scantily-clad dancers swaying sensually around them.
Some critics find the video to be “a deliberate statement on the marginalization of black figures in predominantly white Western art by the two most prominent African Americans in pop culture,” according to the Telegraph.
The video includes close-ups that single out black figures in paintings such as Veronese’s "Wedding at Cana," Géricaults' "The Raft of the Medusa" and Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s "Portrait of a Negress."
In any case, the effort proved successful as the clip currently has collected 84 million views on YouTube. And contributed to blow up the entrances to the Louvre, which has seized the opportunity to create a tour dedicated to Apeshit.
"Now the Louvre, which already has a tour based on the US rapper will.i.am's hit 'Smile Mona Lisa,' has created another based on the Carters' night in the museum," writes The Local. "It follows through 17 paintings and sculptures which are featured in the clip, going from the monumental white Greek marble 'Nike of Samothrace' to Marie Benoist's 'Portrait of a Negress.'"
As for their intention to occupy the Roman Coliseum, Le Point thinks that “the splendid scenery will allow Queen B and Jay-Z to stage a new grandiose clip with their usual air of excessiveness. And it will not be surprising if, in a few months, we find them at the top of the Corcovado in Brazil or the Pyramids of Giza.”
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