Illustrator Olaf Hajek is known for his gorgeous paintings that are a feast for the eyes. One his more recent series is called Black Antoinette, and it imagines Marie Antoinette—the infamous Queen of France—as a woman of color. The regal portraits pay homage to his subjects’ beauty as well as the splendor of the natural world. As their hair reaches towards the sky, it’s completely composed of flowers, birds, animals, and fruit. Each illustration is visually overwhelming (in the best way) and begs you to admire all of its fine painted details.
“My idea was to create an image,” Olaf explains, “of luxury, opulence, and beauty which has nothing to do with wealth and prosperity. I adapted the idea of Marie Antoinette and created a ‘Black Antoinette’ who is wearing the idea of the whole nature on her head—the beauty as well as the birth and death and the evanescence.”
You can buy the top painting as a print through Olaf’s shop. In addition, he has signed copies of his monograph Precious available, which features both his illustrations and essays about his work. Follow him on Instagram for more visual inspiration.