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Critics Trash First Official Portrait of Kate Middleton: VIDEO


Artist Paul Emsley was commissioned to do the first official portrait of Kate Middleton which will hang in the National Portrait Gallery, but nobody likes it.

The Daily Beast writes:

Believe it or not, this is not some provocative project cooked up by an attention seeking art student (or Morrissey) aiming to show us what Kate would look like if she was twenty years older, smoked, never washed her hair and ate junk food, but her first official portrait.

The Telegraph called it 'an aesthetic disaster":

For the Duchess of Cambridge, however, he has produced what looks like a piece of mawkish book illustration, a work that could be read as an almost comical pastiche of a certain kind of ‘sensitive’ painting – that might pass muster on the cover of a Catherine Cookson novel, but will hardly bear sustained scrutiny in a major art gallery. If Kim Jong un, Supreme Leader of North Korea, had a portrait painted of himself in a similar idiom, we’d all be crowing from the rafters about the pitiful taste of foreign despots.

And Twitter appears not to be on board.

The Royal Channel released a video about it. Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. It's horrible. She looks 40 years old, which is OK if you're 40. I hope Her Majesty doesn't pay for it.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jan 11, 2013 8:52:38 AM

  2. Terrible. The artist gave her the same expression that Kristen Stewart perpetually wears. No one wants to see that...

    Posted by: kit | Jan 11, 2013 9:10:33 AM

  3. A potrait of some 50 something woman, who has lived hard but enjoyable life so far.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Jan 11, 2013 9:27:49 AM

  4. wow that is insanely bad.

    Posted by: NE1 | Jan 11, 2013 9:49:15 AM

  5. is it me or does she look...umm, manly?

    Posted by: Robert | Jan 11, 2013 9:59:29 AM

  6. I like it. She has refused to be portrayed as a trussed-up doll the way some gay guys like to imagine women--as inane caracatures of the human soul, more tinsel and less real.

    This painting makes me respect and like Kate Middleton.

    Posted by: Just_a_guy | Jan 11, 2013 10:06:43 AM

  7. "some provocative project cooked up by an attention seeking art student (or Morrissey)"


    Posted by: Henry Holland | Jan 11, 2013 10:08:03 AM

  8. woof

    Posted by: David in NYC | Jan 11, 2013 10:13:28 AM

  9. @Just_A_Guy--I'm not sure why you'd use this as an opportunity to make some ridiculous claim about gay men being superficial about women. A pretty massive gulf exists between refusing to be portrayed as a "trussed-up doll" and actually, you know, looking *like yourself*. Compare this photo to any live appearance she's made, and it's obvious to anyone with eyes that this is a poor portrait. The only way this looks like Kate Middleton at her current age is if they wanted a depiction of her after a severe allergic reaction.

    Posted by: Stefan | Jan 11, 2013 10:16:50 AM

  10. Morning sickness?

    Posted by: anon | Jan 11, 2013 10:21:19 AM

  11. The artist has failed. A portrait is not a photo. Nor is it a cartoon. Nor is it an impersonation. Somehow this has managed to be all three, an artistic achievement to be sure, but not a portrait.

    Posted by: Randy | Jan 11, 2013 10:36:27 AM

  12. Just say it. Yes, she looks like a dude.

    Posted by: Jake Orlando | Jan 11, 2013 10:46:08 AM

  13. I think it is quite nice. She looks lovely. The artist did a fine job.

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Jan 11, 2013 10:48:28 AM

  14. Did Kathleen Turner sit in for her?

    Posted by: Lucas H | Jan 11, 2013 11:15:01 AM

  15. Damn. "Insainly bad" probably comes closest but does not begin to cover it. Her natural smile has become a frightening grimace. Her natural intelligence is shown as something conniving. Even the bloom of youth been has morphed into some unreal characterization of an old hag. Too bad that they hired only a bad painter and not an insightful artist who had a least looked at his subject and could show her natural being. A modern day Mona Lisa this is NOT!

    Posted by: Mike | Jan 11, 2013 11:35:58 AM

  16. I imagine that's what she actually looks like, under the makeup.

    Posted by: Eric26 | Jan 11, 2013 11:40:33 AM

  17. Wow, when did she turn 47?!

    Posted by: jakeinlove | Jan 11, 2013 11:53:30 AM

  18. Lucas H, I was thinking more Lauren Bacall, but Kathleen Turner is a better comparison.

    Posted by: Acronym Jim | Jan 11, 2013 12:02:26 PM

  19. I like it. It clearly conveys her intelligence, determination and her independent mind.

    Posted by: Victor | Jan 11, 2013 12:16:18 PM

  20. I don't hate it as a work of art, but it fails to convey Kate as a vibrant young woman. Perhaps the artist wanted to give her a little breathing room in later years, when the portrait would be used as an example of how well or poorly she might have aged?

    Posted by: Michael | Jan 11, 2013 12:28:27 PM

  21. They should keep it. They will just have to do another one in 25 years. By then this one will be current.

    Posted by: Bollux | Jan 11, 2013 12:29:28 PM

  22. As an artist who has done both portraits and illustrations for over 30 years, I'm sensitive to the difference between those two types of painting.

    This is a great illustration, but it's not a good portrait, IMO. A portrait should look more painterly, especially when it gets away from the center of the face and nearer the edges of the frame (clothes, background, etc) so that the eye focuses on the eyes of the sitter. This is a very good documentary illustration and would work well for magazines or books, but not good for something that is going to stand the test of time and sit well with other portraits around it.

    Posted by: johnny | Jan 11, 2013 12:43:06 PM

  23. Good lord. It looks like the "before" picture in an advertisement for zit creme or a wrinkle reducer. I'd never noticed before that she has a potato for a nose. Was that artistic license?

    Posted by: Caliban | Jan 11, 2013 2:20:22 PM

  24. The monkey Jesus lady could have done a better job.

    Posted by: beef and fur | Jan 11, 2013 3:10:53 PM

  25. She looks like a man. The 'artist' should eat his crayons.

    Posted by: OrmsByGore | Jan 11, 2013 3:19:47 PM

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