Illustration

Instead of a Crown, Regal Portraits Wear Nature as the Splendorous Opulence

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

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.

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek

Black Antoinette by Olaf Hajek