The Duchess of Cambridge’s first official painting has been unveiled, receiving mixed reviews from critics. Paul Emsley’s work took several months using a technique of building thin layers of oil and glazes on canvas.
The artist had two sittings with the duchess and also worked from a series of photographs he took, the BBC reported.
The portrait is now on display at London’s National Portrait Gallery, which commissioned the work. The duchess is the gallery’s patron.
Emsley was chosen by the gallery’s director, Sandy Nairne. Kate, who studied history of art at St Andrews University, was also involved in the selection process.
The 31-year-old duchess, whose pregnancy was announced by the Royal Family last month, sat for the artist in May 2012 at his studio, and again in June at Kensington Palace.
Emsley said that Kate had expressed a desire to be portrayed as her natural self, rather than her official self.
Originally, Emsley had planned to produce an unsmiling portrait. But on meeting the duchess he changed his mind.
The painting took three-and-a-half months to complete and was presented to the portrait gallery’s trustees in November.
Waldemar Januszczak, art critic for the Sunday Times, said he was not impressed by the painting.
He said that he was disappointed, as he was waiting for it, like everybody else, with great expectation.
He thinks she’s been let down really by the picture.
When Emsley was asked how he felt about some art critics’ less than flattering comments about his work, he said he tried his best, and understands that it’s not to everyone’s taste.
However, Alastair Adams, president of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, said Emsley had showed the natural, not official, side of the duchess.
He said it’s quite natural, open, straightforward and very pure, adding that it’s “immediate and not overly sentimental.”
Kate’s first official portrait gets viral makeover
Just hours after Kate’s first official painting was unveiled at the national portrait gallery, it has fallen victim to the viral treatment.
Some pranksters gave the image a Celia Gimenez makeover – replacing Kate with the “monkey face” the 80-year-old Spanish woman painted over a 19th century fresco of Jesus in her botched attempt at restoring it, the Mirror reported.
Other web jokers appeared to have subjected the picture of the usually slim to the smartphone ‘FatBooth’ app, giving her chubby cheeks and a huge double chin.
Following criticism that the portrait was too dark and eerie, some photoshoppers replaced Kate’s face with that of Ghostbuster’s villain Vigo the Carpathian.
Other’s superimposed the portrait over a Twilight advert, dubbing Kate the 'Grandmother of the Vampires'.