Madonna’s Controversial Vanity Fair Cover Splits the Internet

Madonna doesn’t have to do much to be talked about—the Queen of Pop comes with the territory. But that doesn’t mean she’s not up for daring, famous, and frequently contentious actions. Her performance at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, which included a kiss with Britney Spears, went down in VMA history. Even her 2015 Coachella kiss with a very uncomfortable Drake raised eyebrows and drew condemnation on Twitter.

Following the announcement of her 40th-anniversary Celebration Tour, the 64-year-old stirred the pot once again with her Vanity Fair covers. Madonna graced the covers of Vanity Fair Italia, France, and Spain at the same time for the publication’s first-ever “Icon Issue.” The newspaper commissioned photographers Luigi and Iango to create controversial pictures, in keeping with the issue’s objective of being an “art project that incorporates an exhibition, a short film, a cooperation between fashion, art, and design, and an urban art performance.”

The “Crazy for You” singer appears in a series of images dressed in strongly stylized outfits by John Galliano for Maison Margiela, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, and Jean Paul Gaultier, among others. The final editorial featured Madonna mimicking Catholic symbolism, including references to the Virgin Mary and The Last Supper, which has caused controversy on Twitter.

Madonna fans are ecstatic with the shoot. “Hail Holy Queen Mother Madonna,” one Twitter user said.

Some even picked out previous celebrity references, such as Lana Del Rey’s Met Gala outfit and Drag Race’s Mimi Imfurst.

However, not everyone loved the biblical parallels, and many condemned the editorial as “blasphemous.” “I don’t know what’s going on with Madonna or Vanity Fair, but it seems suspect at best and ritualistic at worst,” one person remarked.

Some people thought the shooting was disrespectful. Denise simply stated, “My Jesus is not dressed like Madonna.”

The “awful” retouching concerned some people.

Speaking about the provocative images, Madonna stated that it was “simply a set” in her Vanity Fair interview. “Look closely at the image: I’m wearing a crown and am lavishly dressed over an altar.” Do you have any idea how I felt? I felt exposed, as if I were being attacked. “And it was just a set; it was just a metaphor.” She also recalled being “vigorously chastised by the Catholic Church” and how the church failed to see that her work “was attempting to generate something good.” “My job as an artist linked people and offered them freedom of speech and unity,” she remarked.

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