King Charle’s New Royal Portrait Draws Mixed Reactions

King Charles III’s first official portrait since his coronation has been released at Buckingham Palace, and it has vibrant red brushstrokes. But not everyone sees the painting positively. Many see him bathing in blood.

Some social media users remarked on the portrait’s harshness, while others praised the gentleness of his look. Richard Morris, an art historian, said that a picture depicts the exposure of one’s mortality and imperfections.

One person remarked that he “looks like he is in hell.

Despite the monarch’s apparent modest astonishment at the vibrant hue, the King and Queen are reportedly pleased with the painting. The 6 ½ foot by 8 ½ foot painting was commissioned over three years ago, and upon first viewing, Camilla remarked, “Yes, you’ve got him.”

British artist Jonathan Yeo painted the 8.5 by 6.5-foot portrait of the king in full Welsh Guard regalia, sword in hand, against a blazing red backdrop that threatens to engulf him. By drawing inspiration from classical royal portraiture, Yeo hopes to convey the subject’s profound humanity while also capturing the unique life experiences seen on each sitter’s face. This style, however, was updated to include a monarchy in the twenty-first century.

Yeo may use the King’s sketches and pictures in addition to his four sittings with him. Charles’ membership in The Drapers’ Company, which supports educational projects among other charitable endeavors, was commemorated by the commissioning of the piece to mark the 50th anniversary of his membership. From May 16th to June 14th, the picture will be on display at London’s Philip Mould Gallery. Beginning in August, it will hang in Drapers’ Hall, among other royal portraits.

Yeo also experimented with collage; after failing a commission in 2007, he created a picture of George W. Bush, the former president of the United States. He elaborated by saying the monarch’s love of nature and the butterfly were both symbols of his devotion to conservation.

The National Portrait Gallery in London has works by Yeo in its permanent collection.