The painted Queen
The Queen of England Elizabeth 11 was born April 22nd, crowned 2nd June 1953, Mayfair London. She celebrates her ‘official’ birthday the first, second or third of June each year with a special ‘Trooping of the Colour’ or her Birthday parade. Throughout history, the monarch has always had their portrait painted. The Queen is no exception.
Many artists commemorated the Queen’s 80th birthday: among them American portrait photographer Annie Liebovitz, famous for her work for Vanity Fair and Rolling Stone magazines. This picture is one of a series of specially commissioned photos to promote the Queen’s first State visit to USA in 16 years. Not everyone was happy with it though. critic Henry Alan from the Washington Post said:-
“It looks like something you might see in a catalogue offering the Queen herself for sale.”
Whilst I don’t agree with the critic, I do think the Queen looks aloof and alone and inaccessable, which I suppose she is in her role.
Australian artist and entertainer Rolf Harris had a completely different approach. He wanted his portrait to be more impressionistic than a photographic representation.
I really like this portrait, I think that the Green lightens the Queen’s persona and gives her a friendly glamourous Granny look (and who’s to say she’s not?)
“I’m not making any claims that this is the greatest painting in the world,” said Harris, who trained as an artist, “I’ve done the best I can.”
“I was really thrilled with the impressionistic look, especially the hands,” added the former Animal Hospital presenter.
“I really like the way you get the blueness of the veins coming through the skin
A completely different type of portrait was done by Rupert Alexander.
This painting was only done recently this year by the 35-year-old artist. I think it’s a Masterpiece and it will not look out-of-place in the National Gallery. All the artist had was three one hour sittings with the Queen! I have never heard of this artist before – but I shall be looking out for his work in the future.
Suffolk artist Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy executed this portrait of the Queen in 2002. In the background she has included some sites in the
Commonwealth, including great Zimbabwe, Sydney Opera House and the Taj Mahal. She has made the Queen very tall and regal in her rich blue gown. The whole portrait is lit up with sumptuous colour.
This portrait is by one of my favorite artists – Lucien Freud.
You either love it or hate it – I LOVE it of course! He has not flattered the monarch at all, but he has captured her humanness beneath the dazzling crown. Each painterly stroke tells of a life of duty and patience, indeed she does look a little weary. Which of these portraits do you prefer and why?
Annie Liebovitz article here
Rolf Harris article here
Rupert Alexander article here
Lucian Freud article here