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First official portrait of King Charles III since his coronation divides opinions

Buckingham Palace unveiled the first official portrait of King Charles III since his coronation on Tuesday, and it's proving controversial with its sinister red brushstrokes.

The 2.5 x 2.5 meter painting is by British artist Jonathan Yeo, who painted prominent subjects throughout his career, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, actress Nicole Kidman and education activist Malala Yousafzai .

Yeo, who began the project while Charles was still Prince of Wales, depicts the monarch wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, sword in hand, against a fiery red background that appears to almost swallow him whole, while a butterfly appears to be about to land on him. your shoulder.

“Like the butterfly I 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 released by Buckingham Palace.

“I do my best to capture the life experiences etched on any model’s face. In this case, my goal was to also reference the traditions of royal portraiture, but in a way that reflected a 21st century monarchy and, above all, communicate the deep humanity of the subject.”

Yeo had four sessions with the king, and also worked from drawings and photographs according to the palace.

The work was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charles' membership of The Drapers' Company, which funds educational initiatives among other philanthropic efforts, and will be on public display from May 16 to June 14 at the Philip Mold Gallery in London. It will later hang in Drapers' Hall from the end of August, alongside other royal portraits.

The King and Queen are reportedly happy with the portrait – Yeo told the BBC that Camilla said: “Yes, you captured it” after seeing the result, while the monarch was “slightly surprised by the strong colour, but on the other hand he he seemed to be smiling with approval” – and there was no shortage of comments on social media.

Commenting on a post of the portrait on the royal family's Instagram account, one user wrote: “With the uniform and that color it looks like (a) visual representation of the massacre caused by the colonizers,” and one said: “I would have loved this if it was any any color other than red. He really captured his essence in his face, but the harshness of the red doesn't match the softness of his expression.” Another post said: “Looks like he’s going straight to hell.”

Art historian Richard Morris said in That’s what Yeo captures here.”

Although the celebrated artist works primarily in oils, he has dabbled in another medium: collage. In 2007, after a commission to paint former U.S. President George W. Bush failed, he decided to make an “ironic tribute,” according to his website, pasting clippings from hardcore pornographic magazines to create a portrait of the then U.S. president. USA, a satire on the “supposed moral superiority of the extreme right in American politics”.

It was the first in a wider series depicting public figures “who are understood to have traded on the basis of their sexual morality”, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sarah Palin, Silvio Berlusconi and British conservative activist Mary Whitehouse.

As for the portrait of the King, Yeo said on his website that the vivid pigment colors “not only resonate with the royal heritage found in many historical portraits, but also inject a dynamic, contemporary boost into the genre with their uniform, powerful hue – providing a contrasting modern with more traditional representations.”

He added that the butterfly symbolized beauty and nature, while also highlighting the king's passion for the environment.

Yeo's paintings are included in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery in London.

The King himself is an artist and a collection of his watercolors was exhibited in London in 2022. He has previously described painting as “one of the most relaxing and therapeutic exercises I know”, adding that it “refreshes parts of the soul that other activities cannot to reach.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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