April 9

Official Diamond Jubilee Portrait

A striking portrait of the Queen that pushes the boundaries of royal portraiture has been unveiled by Governor-General Quentin Bryce in Canberra, reported  Siobhan Heanue for the ABC

Only one official portrait of the Queen has been painted in her Diamond Jubilee year and the honour went to Australian born artist Ralph Heimans.

The portrait is very powerful, with the Queen dressed in full regalia, including robes and jewels, amid the grand architecture of Westminster Abbey.

Artist Ralph Heimans says he always knew the ideal setting for his portrait.

"The setting of Westminster Abbey is the most aesthetically spectacular an artist could ever choose," he said.

"That inspired me."

The Queen's placement in the portrait shows her standing on the very spot she stood when she was crowned.

"Every monarch for 900 years has been crowned on that very spot," he said.

"That in itself has a magical power, which I felt would enhance the quality of the painting."

But there is a striking reflective quality to the work. Her eyes are downcast and she appears caught in a moment of deep contemplation.

"She is very pensive and reflective and that's a mood that I really wanted to capture," Mr Heimans said.

"I thought it was very appropriate for this painting, this time, being the Diamond Jubilee."

Governor-General Quentin Bryce says the portrait reflects a modern take on a history-tied tradition.

"The changing nature of regal portraiture offers a fascinating insight into a changing nation, alongside a changing monarchy," she said.

The portrait took Mr Heimans over six months of painstaking work. He conjured Westminster's gilded architecture and every inch of Medieval tiling.

While he painted he listened to lectures on the Kings and Queens of England.

The portrait will hang in the National Portrait Gallery until April next year.

[Source: ABC 28 September, 2012]


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