Critics split over portrait of Duchess of Cambridge
BY RAPHAEL SATTER Associated Press
Sunday, January 13, 2013
1/13/13 at 4:13 AM
LONDON - The Duchess of Cambridge seems to like her first official portrait, which is lucky for the artist. Many critics don't.
Paul Emsley's portrait of the former Kate Middleton shows the 31-year-old royal against a dark background, her lips pursed into a wry smile, with an ethereal light against her face and hair. Her pale complexion brings out the fine lines under the eyes, and the light adds a hint of silver to her rich brown hair.
Shortly after the portrait was unveiled Friday at London's National Portrait Gallery, critics began grousing.
"It's a great, great opportunity missed," British Art Journal editor Robin Simon said. "The best thing you can say about it is that she doesn't actually look like that."
In a telephone interview, Simon said that Kate's nose was too large and that the painting drained the duchess of her sparkle.
Kate "transmits a sense of joie-de-vivre," he said. "This is dead, dead, dead."
Emsley appeared to have won over his most important audience. Kate called the portrait "just amazing." Prince William liked it too, saying it was "absolutely beautiful."
A newly commissioned portrait of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, by artist Paul Emsley hangs at the National Portrait Gallery in London. SANG TAN/Associated Press