Beyoncé has shared the cover for her highly-anticipated seventh studio album Renaissance.
Seemingly inspired by John Collier’s 19th century painting Lady Godiva and Bianca Jagger’s iconic birthday party at Studio 54, the artwork sees the Grammy Award winner seated atop a glowing horse.
In a statement, Beyoncé said the creative process allowed her a “place to dream and to find escape during a scary time for the world”.
“It allowed me to feel free and adventurous in a time when little else was moving. My intention was to create a safe place, a place without judgment. A place to be free of perfectionism and overthinking,” said the star.
“A place to scream, release, feel freedom. It was a beautiful journey of exploration. I hope you find joy in this music. I hope it inspires you to release the wiggle. Ha! And to feel as unique, strong, and sexy as you are.”
Renaissance is due for release on 29 July. It marks Beyoncé’s first solo studio album since 2016’s Lemonade, which won two Grammy Awards and has since been hailed as one of the greatest albums of all time.
Earlier this month, the pop icon made her comeback with the Big Freedia-assisted house banger Break My Soul, which heavily samples Robin S’ classic hit Show Me Love and Freedia’s bounce track Explode.
“Now, I just fell in love, and I just quit my job / I’m gonna find new drive, damn, they work me so damn hard / Work by nine, then off past five / And they work my nerves, that’s why I cannot sleep at night,” she sings on the track.
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Produced by The-Dream and Tricky Stewart, Break My Soul was met with widespread critical acclaim. The single has also been hailed as a “gay anthem”, with Beyoncé’s queer fans lauding the star for releasing a defiant floorfiller with an LGBTQ+ artist in the middle of Pride Month.
“Break My Soul is made for voguing, Beyoncé is saying Happy Pride Month with this one,” one fan tweeted shortly after its release. “The LGBTQI+ community is eating eating with the recent album releases.”
Another wrote: “Beyoncé releasing BREAK MY SOUL during Pride month is honestly the greatest form of allyship I’ve ever seen.”
With only three days of sales, Break My Soul debuted at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Beyoncé’s 41st top 40 single as a solo artist in the US.
It also on track to reach the top 10 of the UK Singles Chart.