Opinion

Another Royal Portrait Disaster

Thomas Kluge's new portrait of the Danish royal family
Thomas Kluge’s new portrait of the Danish royal family (via dkks.dk)

You may have thought the Kate Middleton debacle was enough bad royal portrait news for one year, but no, there’s more. Behold, a new portrait of the Danish royal family.

I’m really not sure where to start with this one — the art historical background that transforms into a deep, dark black hole? The supremely eerie lighting? The tiny man mounted on a tiny horse at the bottom? Or is it the the way Prince Christian looks just like Chuckie?

Prince Christian or Chuckie? (Chuckie via)
Prince Christian or Chuckie? (Chuckie image via blogspot)

The work was painted by artist Thomas Kluge, and the Danish Royal Collections website explains that it’s a reference to another Danish royal family portrait, a work by Laurits Tuxen from the 1880s. That one is considerably less terrifying:

Laurits Tuxen's portrait of Christian IX and Queen Louise and their family from the 1880s
Laurits Tuxen’s portrait of Christian IX and Queen Louise and their family from the 1880s (via businessinsider.com)

The Royal Collections website also offers this prime piece of artspeak by way of an explanation of Kluge’s style:

In his works the precise depiction of humans and objects known from reality forms part of a universe which challenges the interpretations of the spectator, as they encompass something other and deeper than immediate, accurate likeness.

Still, I have to say, I give props to the Danish royal family for branching out a little and giving “magical realism” (their description) a try, rather than the standard photorealism used for these types of paintings. It may be really awkward and really creepy … but at least it’s something different?

h/t Henry Chalian

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