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An Art Historical Summary of “Lemonade”- Part 1

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We didn’t think anything could top Beyoncé’s Formation video until we watched her recently released visual album, Lemonade. We’re pretty sure that at this point, everyone has seen this work of art. If you still haven’t watched it, you need to Get. On. it.  

If you still haven’t seen it or if you just want a refresher, it’s your lucky day because below, we give you an art historical summary of some of my favorite parts of the video. This was hard work, considering how involved the whole thing was. Lemonade is broken up into multiple sections and runs about an hour long, but with our two-part summary, you’ll be caught up with the rest of the world in no time!

1. Intuition

Things are not looking too good for Queen B. She jumps from the roof of a building. You think she’s going to hit the ground and turn out like this lady.

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The Suicide of Dorothy Hale by Frida Kahlo at the Phoenix Art Museum

But no. Instead, she falls in water.

2. Denial

She dives feet-first into a bedroom that is submerged in water. She swims towards the bed where another Beyoncé is sleeping. There are now two Beyoncés.

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The Two Fridas by Frida Kahlo at the Museum of Modern Art Mexico


Are you keeping up?

One Beyoncé (the one that is awake) swims to the door and emerges outside.

She is wearing a bright yellow dress that perfectly highlights her assets. This is the kind of revenge we imagine she is thinking inside her head as she wears her yellow dress that shows off her assets.

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Salome by Lovis Corinth at the Museum of Fine Arts Leipzig


But really, what she does is walk down the streets with a bat in hand— a smiling girl wreaking havoc. 

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She makes jealous and murderous girlfriends look hot!

3. Anger

This part of the video is not for the faint of heart. Beyoncé may or may not have just watched The Silence of the Lambs before deciding to write the dialogue for this.

I can wear her skin over mine…

There is a tangle of women with their sleeves tied together, causing them to have weird stretchy arms. They seem to playing a perverted version of the human knot game.

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Dance (I) by Henri Matisse at the Museum of Modern Art


Though the stretchy fabric of their dresses seem very comfortable, it is clearly inconvenient and very freaky. Basically, these bitches mean business.

This is the kind of business we imagine they are planning to do with their stretchy fabric hands. 

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The Straw Manikin by Francisco Goya at the Prado National Museum


Meanwhile, Beyoncé is in a parking lot wearing a fur coat with shoulder cutouts…

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4. Apathy


Surprise surprise, Serena Williams is in the video! But while Beyoncé sits on her throne.

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A Little Taste Outside of Love by Mickalene Thomas at the Brooklyn Museum

Serena grinds on the floor and makes us feel weird inside.

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As uncomfortable as that was to watch, I’m pretty sure it made someone else even more uncomfortable.

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Maybe next time, Drake shouldn’t interrupt Serena’s grinding…

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Though there are various costume changes throughout the whole video, Beyoncé sports a look that is familiar…

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To art history buffs, of course.

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From Here I Saw What Happened And I Cried by Carrie Mae Weems


In this first half, Beyoncé goes through the different phases of a break up. First, she’s sad, then depressed, then angry, and then empowered. After Big Sean’s I Don’t F*ck With You, Beyoncé’s Sorry has got to be one of the greatest break-up songs to date. 

And as sad as it seems, by the end of this section, we were so ready to say good-bye to this power couple. 

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To find out just what the fate of Bey Z is, tune in to Part 2 of our art historical interpretation of Lemonade. But for now…

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By Kyla

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Kyla Crisostomo

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