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King Charles unveils his first (revolutionary) post-coronation portrait

It was May 6, 2023 when Queen Elizabeth's eldest son he was crowned king with the name of Charles III. Just over a year later, the sovereign has his first (revolutionary) official post-coronation portrait unveiled at Buckingham Palace. The work, created by one of most famous portraitists in the world – the 54 year old British artist Jonathan Yeowhich among others has also immortalized Prince Philip, Queen Camilla, Tony Blair, David Cameron and Cara Delevigne – is decidedly different from the classic depictions of royals to which we are accustomed: the monarch is dressed in red – the color of the Welsh Guards uniform he wears for the occasion – wrapped in a sort of scarlet mist, and with his sword in his hand. On the other hand, Yeo wanted «to make an original portrait, which broke with the past and expressed the most private side of the king».

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In a video posted on the Instagram profile of the Royal House, King Charles can be seen proud and smiling, lifting a black cloth and revealing the work to the applause of those present. But the first judgment on the work, as reported by the BBChe gave it Camilla. The queen, when she saw her husband's revolutionary portrait for the first time, said to the author: «You managed to capture who he really is». As for the king, he only saw the portrait halfway through the work, before it was completed: «Initially he seemed a little surprised by the strong color», Jonathan Yeo told the BBC“but in general it seemed to me that he smiled in approval.”

Yeo he had Charles pose four timesfor about an hour each: the first in 2021 at Highgrove (when Charles was still the Prince of Wales) the last one at Clarence House in November 2023: «When I started this project, His Majesty the King was still His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Just like the butterfly that I painted balanced on his shoulders, this portrait has evolved as the role of the protagonist in our public life has changed”, explained the artist in a note.

The butterfly also reflects the sovereign's well-known passion forenvironment«of which he was a defender long before everyone was talking about it.” The artist, speaking of Charles, then explained to the BBC: «I noticed a change in his presence the moment he became king». As for signs that he was already suffering from the cancer that was later diagnosed, the painter didn't see any: “He didn't seem physically exhausted.” During the hours of posing “the king was in a good mood” and remained “always perfectly still on his feetwithout getting distracted like others whose portrait I have taken do.”

The portrait of King Charles, rather large – 2.5 meters by 1.80 meters – will be exhibited to the public at the Philip Mold Gallery in London from 16 May to 14 June. Then, from the end of August, it will move permanently to Drapers' Hall, a historic building in the heart of the capital.

Source: Vanity Fair

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