King Charles has a New Official Portrait and Reactions are Mixed

Buckingham Palace revealed the first official portrait of King Charles III since his coronation on Tuesday, and it’s proving to be divisive with its lurid red brushstrokes.

CNN reports, “The work was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Charles’ membership in The Drapers’ Company, which funds education initiatives among other philanthropic efforts, and will be exhibited to the public from May 16 to June 14 at the Philip Mould Gallery in London. . . .Yeo, who began the project while Charles was still Prince of Wales, depicts the monarch wearing the uniform of the Welsh Guards, sword in hand, against a fiery red background that appears to almost swallow him whole, as a butterfly looks like it’s about to land on his shoulder.

“Much like the butterfly I’ve painted hovering over his shoulder, this portrait has evolved as the subject’s role in our public life has transformed,” said Yeo in a statement released by Buckingham Palace.

According to HuffPo, “He was initially mildly surprised by the strong color but otherwise he seemed to be smiling approvingly,” Yeo said in an interview published Tuesday. The color is perhaps one of the most controversial aspects of the monarch’s new portrait, and has caused division among viewers.

According to Yeo’s website, the choice was intentional, so that viewers focus less on Charles’ military regalia and more on the person in front of them.  Yeo also spoke about another distinctive part of the painting, which shows a butterfly over Charles’ right shoulder, noting that “in [the] history of art, the butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis and rebirth,” which he said he felt was fitting for a man who had just become king.