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Chris Brown : A Head for the Classics

2 September 2015

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Pity the poor old Venus de Milo. For centuries, she lingered forgotten on a Greek island before being shipped to France so that tourists could ogle her in the Louvre. Alas, it appears her undignified journey is far from over. Last week, she appeared in tattoo form on the back of rapper Chris Brown’s head.

Poor Venus.

Poor Venus. Photograph: Chris Brown/Instagram

Brown, a chap chiefly famous for beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009, is not a known devotee of classical sculpture – but the Rake suspects he is not unschooled in the subject. Indeed, judging by the lyrics to his song Picture Perfect, he is positively pantheistic:

Hot damn I got the hottest chick
She gotta be a goddess her body’s sick
3-D booty like holy shit

Just days after showing off the design on Instagram, Brown revealed a new image of an angry bull charging out of Venus’s cranium. Rumours that the double tat alluded to both the rape of Europa and the birth of Minerva remain unsubstantiated. Brown’s only comment on the matter has been a cryptic caption:

‘I do what the f*** I want! #rockstar #500 #onehellofanight #legendarynights @iamkingrico.’

Jupiter himself couldn’t have put it better. Rakewell can but guess at the significance of this most bizarre of art-historical mysteries.

Got a story for Rakewell? Email tips to rakewell@apollomag.com