Wednesday, 25 April 2012

The Queen: Art and Image

The momentum surrounding the Queen's Diamond Jubilee has been slowly gathering pace in 2012. In preparation for an 'intervention' of my own, I've been making a stab at QEII's portrait. It's early days!!

Meanwhile the National Museum of Wales has a visiting exhibition about Queen Liz - "The Queen: Art and Image" - which ends this weekend. I seized my opportunity today, in a gap between rain showers, to head for the Museum to take a look.

I would have said there was a mixed bag on display ...but that might be misinterpreted as a crude shot at her maj, haha! There were the inevitable parade of royal family photos from the 1950's, '60's and '70's. But there were also some very interesting paintings and designs - kicking off with the Sex Pistols' 1977 "God Save the Queen" album cover.

It seems the Queen set about re-inventing herself after the death of Princess Diana in 1997. In 1998, artist Justin Mortimer created a painting called "The Queen", which appeared to rip her head off and float it above a stylised torso on a bright yellow background. According to the exhibition blurb "The public reaction... was adverse". Yet more challenging is the 2007 painting by Kim Dong-Yoo, "Elizabeth vs. Diana", where a portrait of the Queen has been created from 1,100 tiny hand paintings of Diana in blood red. I have to take my hat off to Kim for managing to make all 1,106 images to look exactly like Diana (and the overall image seen from the other side of the room looks recognisably like QEII).

In effect, the recent 're-invention' has officially allowed us all to see the Queen as human well as take not-so-subtle swipes at her ageing image. The gloves are off!!