Artist defends Duchess of Cambridge portrait

By admin
03 February 2013

Paul Emsley, the artist behind the Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait, has defended his work after it came under fire.

The artist behind the Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait has defended his work.

Paul Emsley's picture of Duchess Catherine was savaged by both the media and the public when it was unveiled in London's National Portrait gallery last month.

At first he admits he was both surprised and unsure of his work, but after sketching a different version of the picture in the manner which fans of the young royal would have been more accustomed, he knew he was right.

He told the Washington Post newspaper: "There's a quotation an American friend of mine, the wife of an American artist, sent me in support.

"When Picasso was told his portrait of Gertrude Stein did not look like her, his response was, 'It will.' People will become acclimatised over time to something which is not something that they were expecting."

Paul was one of four artists shortlisted to create the portrait, and after he had won the pitch, met with the Duchess who said she wanted the picture to look like her "natural, not official, self".

Describing how he aimed for the picture to look, he said: "I wanted to do something which had some sort of a sense of mystery, of presence, of stillness about it."

The gallery's director, Sandy Nairne, defends the final portrait against most of its critics, who haven't seen it properly, in person.

She said: "I think we knew because of her standing in public life that this was going to draw a great deal of attention.

"But people were commenting on this work after only having seen it online. This is a bold, mature painting that needs to be considered in person."

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