Sun, 19 May 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

King Charles III's 1st portrait as king draws mixed reactions online

Update : 15 May 2024, 18:21

King Charles III marked another first in his reign this week, unveiling the first official portrait of himself since his coronation last year.

Charles and his wife Queen Camilla were on hand Tuesday as the king's portrait was unveiled at Buckingham Palace.

The portrait, which stands over 6 feet tall, was painted over the course of three years by Jonathan Yeo, a U.K.-based artist, according to the palace.

The painting features a striking red background and shows Charles wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, of which he was made Regimental Colonel in 1975, according to the palace.

The painting was first commissioned in 2020, when Charles was the Prince of Wales, a title that has since been passed to his eldest son Prince William, after the death of Queen Elizabeth II in 2022.

The butterfly located above Charles' shoulder in the painting is representative of his transformation as king, according to Yeo.

"When I started this project, His Majesty The King was still His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, and much like the butterfly I've painted hovering over his shoulder, this portrait has evolved as the subject's role in our public life has transformed," Yeo said in a statement. "I do my best to capture the life experiences etched into any individual sitter's face."

He continued, "In this case, my aim was also to make reference to the traditions of Royal portraiture but in a way that reflects a 21st Century Monarchy and, above all else, to communicate the subject's deep humanity. I'm unimaginably grateful for the opportunity to capture such an extraordinary and unique person, especially at the historic moment of becoming King."

Yeo painted the portrait in his London studio in between four sittings with Charles from 2021 to 2023, according to the palace.

The painting will be on display for one month beginning May 16 at the Philip Mould Gallery in London. Then the painting will go on to hang in Draper's Hall, an historic building in London that was originally owned by King Henry VIII.

The unexpectedly modern painting and it's bold red tone quickly drew mixed reactions online, including in the comments section of the palace's Instagram post about the portrait.

"I think this is beautiful and such a break from the traditional portraits," wrote one commenter.

"I'm sorry but his portrait looks like he's in hell," wrote another commenter. Others in the comments section saw a little of both sides, with one person writing, "I would have loved this if it was any other color than red. He really captured the essence of him in the face, but the harshness of the red doesn't match the softness of his expression."

And still others commented that they would have expected a more nature-based portrait for Charles, who is known as a champion for the environment.

"Given his love of nature and preservation, I am surprised there was not a natural landscape portrayed behind him," wrote one commenter.


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