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Jubilant: Portraits of Queen Elizabeth II
The globe celebrated the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth the Second
Art x Style 14 Jun 2022

Will Teather – Skate and Destroy (2022)

Last weekend, millions of people in Britain and commonwealth countries around the globe celebrated the platinum jubilee of Queen Elizabeth the Second.

Born Princess Elizabeth of York in 1926 and being coronated in 1953, the now 96 year-old has been Queen for 70 years. She is the longest-reigning monarch in British history – beating Queen Victoria by 6 years so far, and only 2 years away from beating King Louis XIV for the title of the longest reigning monarch in Europe.

There are multiple generations who have only ever known life under her rule. It’s remarkable to think that the same monarch we see on our televisions today, has been painted by Andy Warhol.

Many artists have portrayed Her Maj over the years, and we’re sharing some of the greats. Art Save The Queen is an exhibition put on for the Platinum Jubilee at Oxo Tower Wharf in London featuring the work of 52 artists and with NFTs available. We’re dotting some of our favourites from the show throughout this article, too.

Ernesto Romano – Royal Book (2022)

Lucian Freud’s Queen Elizabeth II (2000-1)

This portrait was a bit of a hit-or-miss with audiences, with some claiming that the painting made the Queen look like one of her corgis. The Queen sat for Freud at Saint James Palace and this 9 by 6 inch work is the result of six months’ work.

Andy Warhol’s Reigning Queens: Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (1985)

The pop portrait was based on a photograph taken for Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee back in 1977. Warhol said of the composition – which is a little more detailed than his portraits of Marilyn Monroe or Jackie Kennedy: “I really would still rather do just a silkscreen of the face without all the rest, but people expect just a bit more”.

Goldie – Platinum Jubilee (2022)

Chris Levine’s Lightness of Being (2004)

Levine was commissioned to create a portrait of the Queen for the 800th anniversary of the Isle of Jersey’s allegiance to the British crown. The camera Levine used took 200 images over the course of 8 seconds, to create a holographic print. It is really unusual to have a portrait of a monarch with their eyes closed.

George Condo’s Dreams and Nightmares of the Queen (2006)

Referred to as a “Cabbage Patch doll” portrait, this painting was certainly controversial. But Condo’s first choice for the composition – depicting the Queen naked as if painted by Velazquez – would certainly have been more eyebrow-raising.

Elena Cecchinato – Queen of Essence (2022)

Justin Mortimer’s The Queen (1997)

This portrait of the queen was commissioned by the Royal Society of the Arts to mark their 50th anniversary of being associated with Queen Elizabeth. The Queen almost always sits in a yellow drawing room at Buckingham Palace when she’s having her portrait done, and Mortimer references this with the acidic yellow background. While it may be odd to have an artist depict you with your head floating away from your shoulders, Elizabeth did commission Mortimer again after this painting was made.

Jamie Reid’s God Save The Queen (1977)

Used for the album cover of the Sex Pistol’s album God Save The Queen, this image sent shockwaves through conservative British society and paired with the punk music of the Sex Pistols’ , the image suggested that revolution was on the horizon. In 2001 this image took top stop in a list of the 100 greatest album covers of all time.

Andrew Gow – The Queen (2022)

Author: Verity Babbs

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