Painter of Kate's Portrait Defends His Work

Paul Emsley tells Washington Post it might be his masterpiece

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 31, 2013 6:13 PM CST

(Newser) – When Paul Emsley unveiled his official portrait of Kate Middleton earlier this month, the criticism was so savage that Emsley retreated from public view and began asking himself, Did I screw this up? After weeks of contemplation and sketching, Emsley tells the Washington Post he has his answer: No way. In fact, the renowned artist thinks the piece may end up being what the Post calls the "masterwork" of his career.

The portrait shows a "natural" Kate, rather than the glamorous one in magazines, as per her request. “I did not deliberately age her or anything like that,” Emsley says. “I wanted it to be an authentic record, but it's very easy to put in more shadows and things than are perfectly necessary, and I haven't done that. I've tried to record, in a polite way, what I regard as her natural beauty.” One problem, he adds: The painting doesn't photograph well and is meant to be seen in person. And for the record, Kate loves it.

Artist Paul Emsley poses for photographers next to his portrait of Kate, duchess of Cambridge.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
The newly commissioned portrait of Kate, hanging at the National Portrait Gallery in London.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan)
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When Picasso was told his portrait of Gertrude Stein did not look like her, his response was, ‘It will.’ People will become acclimatized over time to something ... - Paul Emsley, quoting something
a US friend sent him

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