Prince William and Middleton attended the unveiling at the National Portrait Gallery in London on Friday, a rare appearance for the pregnant Kate.
While Middleton reportedly called the portrait “absolutely brilliant” and William thought it was “beautiful,” critics disagreed.
[Photo: Getty Images]
Waldemar Januszczak, Art Critic for The Sunday Times, described it as “pretty ordinary... He made her look older than she is and her eyes don't sparkle in the way that they do and there's something rather dour about the face.”
He added, “Seriously, as a concept, what is it? It’s like a giant Polaroid. Like she went into a photo booth and had that picture taken and blown up to a huge size it would look more or less the same, wouldn’t it?”
Daily Mail Art Critic Robin Simon agreed. She said, “Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing like this in real life. I'm really sad to say this is a rotten portrait.”
Award-winning artist Paul Emsley said he wanted to capture Kate’s spirit and decided after meeting her to paint her with a smile. According to the Prince of Wales website, Emsley revealed, “The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally -- her natural self -- as opposed to her official self.”
He added, “She struck me as enormously open and generous and a very warm person. After initially feeling it was going to be an unsmiling portrait, I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling -- that is really who she is.”
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Not everyone is in love with Kate Middleton’s first official portrait. Critics are likening it to a “giant Polaroid,” and the artist is defending his choice to paint the Duchess of Cambridge smiling.