King Charles' new official portrait looks straight out of The Shining: "Demonic"

Ignoring the amusing “demonic” overtones of all the red, who thought it was a good idea to paint a guy in a red suit against a red background? It’s actually hard to tell where his clothes end and the background starts.


Maybe it’s foreshadowing?


i like to see that as the point: the monarch in all his militaristic regalia is indistinguishable from all the blood spilt in the name of Empire.


This is a recurring theme in the artist’s portraiture work. Like it or hate it, it’s clearly an intentional aesthetic choice designed to draw the viewer’s attention to the subject’s face.


I love some of those, actually… not a fan of Chuck’s painting, though.


I really prefer the others in that collage. There is something about the one with Charles that makes it look like he is trying to to fade into the background.
Though perhaps that too is on purpose.

Maybe it is different in person? I could see it working better if there was a lot of texture to the paint. Texture that wouldn’t come thru well in a photograph

I don’t think it is bad for an official Brit royal portrait. Much more interesting than previous ones. But the choice of a military uniform, all that red-pink, and that fading leave it lacking for me. The artists other portraits are far more engaging. Art is highly subjective though. A million people will have a million opinions


Personally it’s kind of hard for me to separate my feelings about the painting from my feelings about the monarchy in general and this monarch in particular. I do think it’s more interesting than most royal portraits, though. I can’t remember the last time any monarch had an official portrait that seemed worth talking about one way or another.




So it’s been a while?


this monarch in particular

Hmm. :thinking:

Chucky III


That’s just one of the ones I thought of off the top of my head… it’s great, I think…

Also, if the Crown show is to be believed, this photo of princess margarget was controversial at the time…

Oh, here are some more of the Windsors…


It’s been a long time since I’ve had to write a critical analysis of a painting* but here’s my attempt to decode a few things. Please, if anyone here reading this is a professional artist whose medium is paint, feel free to chime in, correct me as you see fit, etc. Paintings and portraiture are not just curated public images. They are the ultimate kind of control of a public image. Remember when women’s portraits were sent to prospective suitors back in the medieval day? Here’s a guy sending out his very memorably painted image wooing the whole world, as it were.

Some of what I see, or at least, here’s what I acknowledge we viewers are being asked to take on board:

  • the background contains a lot of gestural, nonlinear brushwork conveying a bit of energy and tension, while the protrait’s subject (ol’ Chuck) is at rest, and looking comfortable enough… these brush strokes appear to be thinly-applied (not impasto) and the overall feel of the painting is more modern: a palpable departure from the realistic, finely-licked portraiture we see in, say, some of his mother’s portraits:

  • Chuck is surrounded by–if not being nearly smothered by–all this nearly monochrome pigment; the background is obscured, abstract… decontextualizing where he is, what time of day or year (thus devoid of the typical cues that more traditional backgrounds in conventional oil paintings so often give away to the patient observer):
  • overwhelmingly the color cues are taken from the color of his uniform (duty! power! tradition! pomp! Wales! etc.)… all those regal rich blood(!)-reds (e.g. ermine-trimmed red robes), @chenille’s spot-on call re the uniform’s reference to the red dragon of Wales: the viewer is asked to notice blurred boundaries (metaphor alert!) between the uniform and the background, telling us that the uniform’s power[/responsibility/persona] has filled the dang canvas all the way to the edges, filling up nearly all available space (ich dien to the nth degree);

  • the ornamentation on the uniform is muted and minimized, as if to say “of course this Prince of Wales has plenty of honors but…”; the butterfly on his shoulder gets a lot more contrast, definition, and presence: it is far easier to see the butterfly than the sash and military medals… I get it about the monarch pun (a native to Britain and its current or former possessions Australia, Aotearoa/New Zealand, the U.S., among other places): the telegram I read from that one butterfly is that nature itself is celebrating alongside King Chuck, thanking him for his years of supporting nature reserves, sustainability projects, etc.

The monarch butterfly is known by scientists as Danaus plexippus, which in Greek literally means “sleepy transformation.”


An in-joke, and one that the subject surely is in on, at his own expense.


here’s another explainer:


That’s not actually true at all though. Greek plēxippos means striking. It’s taken from the names of the 50 nephews of king Danaus, legendary ancestor of the Danaan tribe. They forced him to let them marry his 50 daughters, only to all be stabbed on their wedding nights except for one. Linnaeus named a whole set of colored butterfly species after the nephews and white butterfly species after the daughters – he never actually explains why though I’ve seen it speculated in reference to blood and purity.


speaking as a lapsed catholic maybe it looks demonic because… it is?

ages ago protestantism or whatever was invented so some english dude could get a divorce rather than go to confession every week to give the priest jo material in the confession booth.

like, if we want to get technical, he’s a demon, he’s in league with satan, and needs to phone up the vatican asap if he wants to avoid eternal damnation…

if that was a thing


Wow, the Catholics really did not give you the whole story. Protestantism was formed by a number of different leaders mostly out of disagreement with their teachings. It’s specifically Anglicanism that was founded so King Henry could get a divorce, although it also ended up adopting a number of other Protestant ideas after him.

No surprise the Catholics would think the Anglicans are incorrect, same as the Anglicans would think about the Catholics…but why would we that disagreement as making the king a demon any more than it would the pope?


to be clear i’m joking around. any chance to be mean to royalists, my ex-altar boy ass will snatch.

(also, once again undergoing my nightly ritual of a large glass of beer and a bag of hamburgers)

edit: oh, the king is a demon because the pope is the pope? like, that part is kinda self explanatory

Oh well done!
Many thanks for this added info.

I suspected a posh dry-chuckle Latin joke in the painting.

That feels plausible.

The monarch butterfly is also listed as an endangered species in some countries.

I wonder if there was a reference there to endangered species generally, and whether the King has had much involvement protecting or supporting protection of endangered species habitat.


Catholic doctrine doesn’t hold that people who break with the teachings of the Church are “demons.” “Sinners” or even “heretics” maybe, but not demons.


Yes. Protestantism began in 1517. Anglicanism in 1534.

I’m an ex altar boy. And alter boy.


… well

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