HMQ at 90

April 21 2016

Image of HMQ at 90

Picture: Royal Collection

The Queen is 90 - AHN wishes her a very happy birthday. In a fine blog post, James Mulraine notes the absence of any of her painted portraits in today's many 'Queen's 90 years' press stories, and writes about his favourite by Pietro Annigoni (above):

[...] my favourite portrait of the Queen is this 1969 portrait by Pietro Annigoni. Annigoni is best known for the earlier portrait of the Queen in Garter robes, like a photograph by Cecil Beaton. He was inspired  by the Italian Renaissance, and this painting has something in it of the supernatural power of Piero della Francesca, not a messiah but a ship’s figurehead the waves would bow to. At the same time it is so triumphantly modern. You hear a Parry anthem in your head, and see it freeze-framed like scene from a movie. The Queen will sweep on into the frame, and turn and speak. It is an icon of Duty, the perfect Royal portrait, because it makes a vast abstraction real because it fits with what we believe of the sitter’s character. It is the last transcendental Royal portrait, in a tradition stretching back to the Christ-like Westminster Abbey portrait of King Richard II, Holbein’s annihilating mural of King Henry VIII, and the Ditchley portrait of Queen Elizabeth I as Fortune.

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