Charles III: A portrait of quiet traditionalism

Charles III: A portrait of quiet traditionalism


This week, King Charles III’s first royal portrait as king was unveiled in a ceremony at Buckingham Palace. Jonathan Yeo, son of conservative politician Tim Yeo, painted the oil-on-canvas work. Immediately, online observers were struck by the hellishness of the image.

The portrait depicts Charles clad in red formal military garb against an abstract field of the same color. Yeo’s circular, churning brushstrokes make the background and foreground appear to melt into one another.

In the deeper, historical Anglo lore, butterflies were often understood as the souls of the faithfully departed on their way to the afterlife or in purgatory.

Charles stands determined, facing the observer directly, his weight evenly distributed, his shoulders straight. Only in his face and hands does the turbulent translucence of his surroundings

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