Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Girl With The Sapphire Earring

Photo from the Daily Mail
In the interest of not getting too serious (also because I am an artist), I checked out the "official" portrait of Prince William's wife. It kind of looks like the cat who ate the canary. Which is really funny. That smirk is telling us something. Winning!
For those who don't know anything about painting, in order to be a "master" painter you have to be able to paint still life, landscape and portraiture. I have accomplished 2 of those things. I am no "master". I can draw ANYTHING, I have mastered that. Painting is a different story. That's why I am interested in portraits.
So, let's break this painting down. It is really interesting that this painter didn't do a full body portrait. Princess Kate is a beautiful and very thin woman,  He didn't choose to show her body. Notice the neckline, a very prim and proper bow. (can we say Puritan?). Nothing to detract from that face. Notice the hint of earring. That is important. It looks very much like earrings inherited from Princess Diana. They were from a suite Diana received as a wedding present. I only know this because I am also a metalsmith. I studied jewelry intensely in college for my thesis, the hint of Diana in that painting is not lost on me. It is subtle, but it is there, probably intentional. There is something "austere" about this painting. Other than that earring, there is nothing of luxury about this painting. Nothing that would tell you that she is a "royal" The somber, dark clothing and background, tells us that she, (not clothes or fashion) is important, at least for this portrait. Another nod to Diana, as she used to wear those bow collars all tied up around her neck. Like a noose? Interesting. Kate's mouth is closed along with her neckline. Don't say or show too much. Everything is dissected and under the microscope. It's strange that such a young person looks so old in this painting.  I like that this painting is just her. This is what you take away from this portrait, it looks simple, but it is complex. Notice those big blue eyes. She takes in everything and the joke is on you, with that closed mouth smile. The humor in that painting is what gets me.
Photo from the Daily Mail
Speaking of humor,  look what the Daily Mail did to her. If you are a BBC  fan you might recognize that phototshopped face.
List of Blackadder characters - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
What really interested me was what else was going on across the pond.
Thousands march in London against threat to close Lewisham Hospital Accident & Emergency unit - World Socialist Web Site
Thousands of people were marching in the street in England, because a hospital was being closed. Happens all the time in America, but
 no one is marching in the street, not after Occupy. Not in America.
No one gives a damn, to get mad enough to march in the street for a hospital closing in America. You never see that in the news.However in England, and here in the US, Jobs Deficit: Austerity Politics Threaten Obama's Economy
The moral of this story is that austerity will not save us from our economic downfall. We will only fall faster into the abyss.
The 1% "let them eat cake" attitude is what Kate Middleton is smiling about.


  1. The artist made her look at least 20 year older than she is. Neckline schmeckline. If I were her I'd have the artist who added 20 years to her face taken to the Tower of London and boiled in oil.

    Very crankily yours,
    Thye New York Crank

  2. I wonder if that artist didn't have it in for Middleton, making her look so old. As for the smirk, I've never seen a photograph of her smirking. She always looks completely sincere.

    You have to be sincere to be a member of royalty. You have to be even more sincere to be a royal subject How else could such an irrational institution as the British monarchy last all the way into the 21st century?

  3. Ok, here's the deal on the artist. His name is Paul Emsley. I know he's Scottish. Here's a quote "“When Picasso was told his portrait of Gertrude Stein did not look like her, his response was, ‘It will.’ So Emsley's saying we should just get over it. That he's another Picasso? Have you ever seen a picture of Gertrude Stein? Anyway, here's the article in Washington Post. He painted another portrait of her, but he doesn't like it as much. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/in-uproar-over-duchess-of-cambridge-portrait-its-artist-speaks-out/2013/01/31/cbe0eff4-6bc4-11e2-8f4f-2abd96162ba8_story.html
    You have to wonder with he was trying to pull a Mona Lisa? (so mysterious) My question was who commissioned this painting?
    The National Portrait Gallery did. http://www.dukeandduchessofcambridge.org/news-and-diary/first-portrait-of-the-duchess-of-cambridge-unveiled-the-national-portrait-gallery
    I am guessing that means public funds paid for the portrait. Since it's a very unusual take on Mrs Duchess, the people aren't happy, I guess they don't feel like they got their money's worth.