The Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait has gone on display at the National Portrait Gallery Jan. 11, 2013, after the former Kate Middleton and Prince William had a private showing Friday morning. Paul Emsley portrait is realistic, but also appears to make the Duchess look older than her years and, despite her smile, a little grim.
The artist reportedly had a different intent, according to USA Today. In a statement, Emsley said that he had originally wanted an unsmiling Duchess, but after she had asked to be shown as her natural, not her official, self, he had chosen to paint her smiling as she was “a very warm person.”
Regardless of what one thinks of the image, the portrait is a milestone. As Sandy Nairne, the NPG's Art Fund director, put it:
“The unveiling of a first official portrait of a royal sitter is always an important and intriguing moment, defining and enshrining their public image in a new way."
Reviews are mixed, with one Twitter comment saying this is the first royal portrait ever to need Photoshopping, but the artist has reportedly shrugged off criticisms, saying that not all art is to everyone's taste and he did his best to capture his subject.
According to CNN, the National Portrait Gallery, of which the Duchess is patron, said that the Duchess had an initial meeting with Paul Emsley, then sat for photographs in May and June 2012, once each in Kensington Palace and the artist's West Country studio. The Duchess of Cambridge's new portrait took three and a half months to create and can be seen free of charge in room 36 of the NPG in London.
Get British Royal Family news by subscribing to this column or using the RSS feed. Linda Gentile is the British Royal Family Examiner and you can also follow on Twitter and Facebook (facebook.com/UKRoyalsNews or @UKRoyalsNews.)