Something Rotten in the State of Denmark
November 19, 2013 3:17 PM   Subscribe

The Danish royal family has released their new portrait, which is less Hans Holbein and more "cover of a Stephen King novel."

Royals love portraits. Sometimes royal portraits come out well. Sometimes they're more controversial. Sometimes they're painted, sometimes photographed, sometimes waxwork. Sometimes they feature one person, sometimes many. But only rarely do they evoke children of the corn.
posted by Eyebrows McGee (177 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
 
Wait, is that Buzzfeed link really the painting? Because it looks totally 'shopped. I mean, I can practically see the pixels.
posted by maryr at 3:20 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


bahahaha

I was expecting a dark masterwork, something that possibly offended conservative sensibilities while making a statement. But this really does look like the cover of a cheap paperback.
posted by Countess Elena at 3:21 PM on November 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


LOL from the comments: "It seriously looks like the inside cover of a V.C. Andrews novel."
posted by lalex at 3:22 PM on November 19, 2013 [21 favorites]


Related: have you seen the trailer for the Lifetime reboot of Flowers in the Attic?
posted by roger ackroyd at 3:22 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's like they're doing a Firestarter reboot. Prince Charlie McGee.
posted by mochapickle at 3:23 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait. This is REAL? Because I saw it a few days ago and thought it was a joke.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:24 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, that really is the portrait. Under the "evoke" link you can see a detail view and read about the portrait. Here it is on the royal family's website.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:24 PM on November 19, 2013


Related: have you seen the trailer for the Lifetime reboot of Flowers in the Attic?
Yes and I cannot WAIT.

posted by lalex at 3:24 PM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


My first thought was a John Saul novel.
posted by kmz at 3:24 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


But this really does look like the cover of a cheap paperback.

and thus I love it, royalty being generally the least classy people
posted by philip-random at 3:25 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


AMERICAN HORROR STORY: SOMETHING ROTTEN

Fall 2014
posted by emmtee at 3:28 PM on November 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


You gotta love royals with a sense of humor.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:31 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The prophecy draws near!
posted by Artw at 3:38 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


The bad-taste overload is overwhelming. Over-over something.
Being a royalist, I am very disappointed, now my republican friends have a really good argument - again.
On the other hand, the younger generation seems to have a completely different taste in art. Maybe they just humored mum for this ugly painting.
posted by mumimor at 3:39 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


LOL from the comments: "It seriously looks like the inside cover of a V.C. Andrews novel."

The royals better have secured copyright on that thing or it will definitely be used as a cover of a V.C. Andrews (R) (C) (Patents pending) novel.
posted by ocschwar at 3:40 PM on November 19, 2013


Looks like the cover of a Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlet.
posted by JackarypQQ at 3:40 PM on November 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


I was so distracted that I barely even noticed little Princess Isabelle in the bottom left corner, haunted and enraged, cracking her tiny knuckles with a doll face down across her knees as if she's about to beat the poor thing.
posted by mochapickle at 3:41 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I really like the backdrop it is like a new chosen one has risen from the ashes of the old.

I vote they make it the cover of King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2013


That painting is hideous. Who thought it was a good idea to uplight the little kid in the middle? Jeez.
posted by chimaera at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2013


My god, the zombie princess sitting on the left gives me chills.
posted by Elly Vortex at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Being a royalist, I am very disappointed, now my republican friends have a really good argument - again.

I think Denmark's unprompted reformation into a constitutional monarchy under Frederick V (V? ) gives the royals there license to be as tasteless as they like.
posted by ocschwar at 3:42 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


When I visited Denmark, I stopped by Christianborg in Copenhagen, it was really interesting to see how the artwork began to show the passage of time. For example, I was struck by Bjørn Nørgaards tapestries, which while they were reminiscent of historical tapestry, definitely had some delightful weirdness in a gathering of the "elder gods" type of way happening in them from a dude that seemed to make some creepy looking things. And I was like, "Oh, that's cool. Nice to see they're not being staid and whatnot because they're royalty."

Later in my trip, I visited Roskilde Cathedral, and they had all these sarcophagi and again you kind of see the passage of time in them and the more recent ones definitely look different from the old stone ones and all that, BUT THEN I saw they had Queen Magrethe II's future sarcophagus on display. Damn thing was looking like some giant space egg and I felt like I accidentally walked onto the a set from The Cremaster Cycle and I was, like, "Omg, these people are dead serious about being patrons of contemporary/future art, holy goddamn."

In that light, I'm kind of please with this portrait and since they seem to be continuing on the "NO, DAD, YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME ANYMORE" art choices, which I am totally cool with.
posted by kkokkodalk at 3:44 PM on November 19, 2013 [21 favorites]


I do like that Lego is now so officially one of the emblems of Denmark that it gets to be in the royal portrait, although I didn't get to that until I finished processing all the really creepy children and got to the two building their Lego Ziggurat Of Death.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:45 PM on November 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


The kid front and center is staring at me and all I can hear in my head is "It's all for you, Damian! It's all for you!"
posted by Kitteh at 3:48 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Det er alt for dig, Damian! Det er alt for dig!
posted by Shepherd at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


The decision to kind of set them all in a black void opening on to some sort of ancient ruined architecture gives the thing an air of 'the Danish royal family waits outside the walls. The conjunction is at hand. Complete the ritual. LET THE DANISH ROYAL FAMILY IN.'
posted by emmtee at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Quenn Margrethe is a giant Tolkien Nerd who made drawings for a Danish edition of LOTR.
posted by KingEdRa at 3:51 PM on November 19, 2013 [30 favorites]


Quenn Margrethe is a giant Tolkien Nerd who made drawings for a Danish edition of LOTR.

Oh man, they are great!
posted by Jimbob at 3:53 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Frederik VIII
Not a man of taste, but on the other hand, not one to brag about his bad taste, either.

And I just deleted everything I wanted to write, because monarchy
posted by mumimor at 3:54 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have been staring at this for like 5 minutes and I still can't tell if the thing at the center bottom is a toy or if it is an actual member of the royal family in uniform on horseback photographed from very far away and added at the last minute.
posted by elizardbits at 3:55 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


And it took someone four years to do it, too. Nice work if you can get it.
posted by zardoz at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2013


Everyone always said the children were our future, but no one said what kind of future that was.
posted by 2bucksplus at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


And it took someone four years to do it, too.

He did it in MS Paint, pixel by pixel.
posted by Jimbob at 3:56 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


No no the kid to the bottom right is pictured having just shrunk an actual guy on a horse down to toy size as his family watches with obvious pride.
posted by emmtee at 3:57 PM on November 19, 2013


Wow, this is a painting, not just a bad Photoshop comp? And it took four years? That means all this craziness is deliberate. The lighting, the funky textures, the completely inappropriate background, all decisions on purpose. Suddenly I admire the artist. I'd love to read his explanation.

Still it's no portrait of California Governor Jerry Brown.
posted by Nelson at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I call it "The Aristocrats!"
posted by fatbird at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [52 favorites]


Back when I was taking ART 100 (my college's art history survey course) with a bunch of housemates, we'd study together, and sometimes do charades to quiz each other about the works we were supposed to be studying. Worked great for distinguishing doric/ionic/corinthian, and certain works really lent themselves- The Garden of Earthly Delights by Bosch, or Lorenzetti's Allegory of Good and Bad Government, for example.

This, I don't know what a budding art historian would do.
posted by ambrosia at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2013


Holy bejeebus that is horrible. It looks like a bad photoshop. Obviously nobody actually sat for this portrait. The painter just used pictures as references, and none of the sources were the same scale or perspective.. Every artist knows you can't paint good portraits from photographs.
posted by charlie don't surf at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


This looks like an ad for the next season of American Horror Story.
posted by painquale at 4:01 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah, emmtee beat me to it!
posted by painquale at 4:01 PM on November 19, 2013


none of the sources were the same scale or perspective.

NON-EUCLIDIAN.
posted by Artw at 4:02 PM on November 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


BUT THEN I saw they had Queen Magrethe II's future sarcophagus on display. Damn thing was looking like some giant space egg . . .

Worse than that, it looks impractical. What if the opaque part gets filled with, you know, with fluid, and it leaks into the crystal part? Or it forms a liquid shadow, like the shadow inside a white plastic tank in a truck on the highway?

Queen Margrethe deserves better than that for her Tolkien illustrations alone. Those are pretty high quality. Why shouldn't she do the portrait?
posted by Countess Elena at 4:02 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Holy bejeebus that is horrible. It looks like a bad photoshop. Obviously nobody actually sat for this portrait. The painter just used pictures as references, and none of the sources were the same scale or perspective.. Every artist knows you can't paint good portraits from photographs.

So you're saying that the Kluge is a kludge?
posted by acb at 4:04 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I also thought this was a joke. It looks like it's photoshopped together from different photographs, taken at different times, with different lighting. Everyone's skintone is subtly different, from the slightly green tint of Mary, to the warm peach of Christian, to the cold blues of Joachim. The faces in general look totally disconnected from the rest of the image, with the exception of little Demon Prince Christian, who on his own is fairly well rendered.

There's also something weird about the proportions, wouldn't Joachim's legs have to be quite short to end behind his kids there?Actually, that applies to everyone standing in the back, the angle of the floor indicates that their legs would be too short (or they're standing behind some sort of raised platform).

One thing is that it's weird, but it's also quite bad, technically. I have no idea how anyone spends four years on this.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:04 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


If BBC America produced a miniseries about genetically-engineered time-traveling Norwegian vampires, this would be the cover of the DVD box set.
posted by xingcat at 4:05 PM on November 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


The only thing that could make it worse is if Martha Stewart tweeted a picture of it.
posted by perhapses at 4:08 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


That really needs to be painted on velvet and sold in a parking lot by the side of the freeway.
posted by edgeways at 4:08 PM on November 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Don't care what anybody says, I like it.
posted by dogwalker at 4:09 PM on November 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


My gf was doing some work in South America when the Crown Prince and Crown Princess of Denmark dropped by to view the facility. She was suffering from terrible food poisoning, and mostly felt relieved that she managed not to throw up on them.

That is all I wanted to say.
posted by kyrademon at 4:10 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I like it too! It contains a most satisfactory blueprint for the RED TOWER, which must be constructed in brick and bone before the conjunction begins.
posted by emmtee at 4:10 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I call it "The Aristocrats!"

One favorite is not enough for this comment.
posted by KathrynT at 4:11 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Also, I am driving myself mad trying to diagram where the lighting sources would have to be in order for all these people to have been together in the same place.
posted by KathrynT at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I have no idea how anyone spends four years on this.

Oh that's the thing with oil painting. Apply a little turps and a rag to a small spot, and you're down to bare canvas and you can paint that section over again. And over and over. And soon you lose sight of what you're doing, caught up in endless fixes. Obviously this painter needed another few years (and a lot of wipedowns).

The really insane thing is the central figure, the face is lit from below, commonly know to photographers as "frankenstein lighting." It had to be done deliberately. Oh this painting is crap.
posted by charlie don't surf at 4:12 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I love it. I would adore a painting of my family done in this style.
posted by fshgrl at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Don't care what anybody says, I like it.

Yes, to be clear from my previous comment, I think it's brilliant. I only wish somebody could've captured my family in such a way when we were all younger, creepier, more bent on imposing our unformed wills upon the void.
posted by philip-random at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2013 [15 favorites]


I would adore a painting of my family done in this style.

I smell a christmas card!
posted by KathrynT at 4:14 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


In that light, I'm kind of please with this portrait and since they seem to be continuing on the "NO, DAD, YOU'RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME ANYMORE" art choices, which I am totally cool with.

I could go with this if they had commissioned a royal family portrait by John Currin or something.

But, I dunno, to me this is not "what's the big deal so we like modern art", this is just bad.

Like, I kind of feel sorry for these guys.
posted by Sara C. at 4:15 PM on November 19, 2013


But seriously, what is up with the tiny little man on the tiny little horse. Is it supposed to be a toy? It's creepy, just hanging out there in the void.
posted by yasaman at 4:18 PM on November 19, 2013


I like it too. In fact, the only horrible aspect is the jacket and shirt combination on the guy on the right.
posted by rocket88 at 4:20 PM on November 19, 2013


Crown Prince looks like he's 12

Benedikte wins for sass and personality.
posted by The Whelk at 4:22 PM on November 19, 2013


I can't stop staring at the demon kid in the front center foreground's shoes.

Those are some fucking lovingly rendered shoes.

Which, considering the guy behind him, who I'm guessing is the king (?) of fucking Denmark, the painter couldn't even be arsed to paint his legs correctly, I mean.... ? ? ?
posted by Sara C. at 4:22 PM on November 19, 2013


Creepy, kooky, mysterious *and* spooky.
posted by Nat "King" Cole Porter Wagoner at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The Danishing
posted by anazgnos at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


The problem is really that they can't decide what clothes to wear. The British royal family is all about look-alike dressing. Everyone must wear a military uniform! The British (and the Spanish) have that down pat. I don't know about the Japanese. Anyway, it looks like a kind of portrait that says "we are still here, no matter how much you imagine we don't really exist." I don't know anything about the Danish monarchy except for the Danish prince who became king of Norway. I am sure there are some fantastic royal events in Denmark but this portrait seems to ask us to please pay attention to their lives, for their troubles and tribulations.
posted by parmanparman at 4:25 PM on November 19, 2013


Guessing the little man on the horse is Christian IX. This painting was tribute to the one pictured below it at the Buzzfeed link (of which Christian IX was the central subject). He was in the horse guard.

But yes, it's a very strange painting and my first thought was also, bunch of photographs painted in a weird manner with an even stranger background.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:27 PM on November 19, 2013


OH GOD

WAIT I HADn'T SEEN THE ACTUAL PAINTING JUST THE PHOTOS

OH MY FREAKING GOD
posted by The Whelk at 4:27 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, where the hell is the light source supposed to be? The lighting doesn't make any sense in this painting.
posted by yasaman at 4:30 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


the two building their Lego Ziggurat Of Death.

A missed opportunity for the kids to be making a Globus Cruciger using the Death Star Lego set.
posted by tychotesla at 4:30 PM on November 19, 2013


the Danish prince who became king of Norway

Wait, what? Did he evolve like a pokemon?
posted by elizardbits at 4:30 PM on November 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


The only thing that could make this picture funnier to me would be if it were painted on velvet and displayed under a blacklight.
posted by 4ster at 4:32 PM on November 19, 2013


I feel like this painting should some standard with a chorus of creepy chanting children.
posted by The Whelk at 4:34 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Also, where the hell is the light source supposed to be? The lighting doesn't make any sense in this painting.

If it were a real painting there would have to be like 28 carefully aimed precision spotlights and NO OTHER LIGHTING.
posted by KathrynT at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"OK- how do you want to look? Gibbous, squamous, or rugose?"





Also, I call hoax. For one thing, Mads Mikkelsen isn't featured.



It's also missing Vigo the Carpathian.

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:35 PM on November 19, 2013 [14 favorites]


It's no Las Meninas that's for sure.
posted by The Whelk at 4:36 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Mads Mikkelsen isn't featured.

You have to cross your eyes to get the features to line up, turns out he's the entire painting.
posted by The Whelk at 4:37 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I knew that aesthetic looked familiar.
posted by griphus at 4:37 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Seriously, 75 comments in and not a single Linda Blair joke?
posted by phaedon at 4:38 PM on November 19, 2013


It wouldn't look out of place in a Lars Von Trier movie.
posted by the duck by the oboe at 4:38 PM on November 19, 2013


CHAOS PAINTS
posted by griphus at 4:39 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd really like to showcase the future of Danish design ....namely the importance of HUGE UNDERFIT FLOATING HEADS.
posted by The Whelk at 4:39 PM on November 19, 2013


"Choose the form of the Destructor!"
posted by chinston at 4:50 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine the title of this nonexistent 80s era Stephen King novel and all I got is THE FOREVER CHILDREN : 40% of Denmark's women discovered they where pregnant on the same day, a joyous miracle, or the first wave of a new alien threat!
posted by The Whelk at 4:54 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Lego isn't the only toy, though. That girl's got a Cabbage Patch Kid, and I can't tell if I find this endearing because clearly they couldn't get her to part with it long enough to get a picture otherwise, or else creepy because they deliberately took the picture with the doll and yet they ended up with the doll face down in her lap like it's about to get a spanking.
posted by Sequence at 4:58 PM on November 19, 2013


Jarring: a bigeneric hybrid of surrealism and photorealism of a peculiar, intense species: the "shock of the new" made all the more shocking by the fact that the subjects are actual members of European royalty—who agreed to have at least four generations of themselves depicted in such an off-center, not to say deliberately off-putting way. As clever as his name implies, artist Kluge has given the family the modern mana of Strangeness, manipulating the viewer's expectations of what a royal portrait should look like. Kluge especially defies convention as to scale and perspective, as if showing each member of the family in his or her own "layer," not from a Photoshopped .jpeg, but rather from a separate perceptual envelope for each grouping of subjects. A quintessentially analog rendition of that which is represents our digitized selves, as depicted in celebritized banality: ephemera made permanent for history as if badly Photoshopped.

Seedy elegance is the hallmark of the elite in our times. The Danish Royal Family gets it and flaunts it.
posted by rdone at 5:01 PM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


This is almost the opposite of Charles IV of Spain and His Family, which is a good painting that makes royals look like goobers, except this is a bad painting that makes everyone look like goobers, viewer included

oh my god help I can't stop laughing
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:04 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Goya's warts and all, lovingly rendered syphilis scars version of the Spanish nobility are the best thing.

Also cause he charged by the hand.
posted by The Whelk at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2013


By the way, does SomethingAwful know about this? It seems like an excellent opportunity for a Photoshop Phriday.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ia! Ia! Christian ftaghn! Ia! Ia! Christian ftaghn!
posted by Mr. Excellent at 5:07 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The picture is an accurate portrayal of persons and events from the Book of Revelations: 1) Prince Damien, aka Antichrist, obviously next in line to the throne, occupies center place (floating ethereally above the picture plane and backlit from Hell's glow) is just doing what he is supposed to be doing; 2) at his tender age he only has the power to invoke one of the Apocalyptic Horsemen visible to the left of his image; 3) the other children are superfluous, wasting what's left of their abbreviated lives on vanities like legos, although the Bride of Chucky on the left might raise some hell before this demon child meets her fate; 4) his grandparents - a green velvet-clad Great Satan, and a tarted-up red dressed Great Ho of Babylon recline triumphantly behind Damien, making a mockery of Christmas with their color choices; 5) the parental groupings at the top left and right show their actual distance from events in their careening-out-of-control lives, and each of their children bears the mark of the beast; and 6) finally, the vision of the smouldering ruins of the earth are plainly seen behind the portrait sitters, if they would only turn around and see...
posted by janey47 at 5:10 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


♫ theme from The Omen
posted by brundlefly at 5:22 PM on November 19, 2013


My six-year-old nephew could have painted that
if he was possessed by Pazuzu.
posted by Atom Eyes at 5:23 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The baby on the right is having a premonition of what it will feel like to look at this painting as an adult.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 5:24 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


HUGE FAN

BEST THING SINCE "FOR THE LOVE OF GOD"

no i am not joking
posted by mwhybark at 5:26 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


take that Bob Dylan and Drew Carey
posted by mwhybark at 5:27 PM on November 19, 2013


1) Has grampa got a tumor? What is up with his face?

2) How is grammy formed? I mean seriously, is that a pink snake coming out of her dress?

3) The blind girl in the bottom left ... is signing? And her legs, there's something seriously wrong there too.

4) Now I can't stop looking at the weird bulges and ridges on people's faces. Babies shouldn't have facial ridges. And it looks like grammy has a facial tumor to match her husband.

5) Who apparently is sprouting ivy from his armpit.

6) Is that tower made out of flesh? How do they get it so high? And how long are those fingers? Or ... tentacles?

7) Yes, those shoes have indeed been rendered with loving care. They are very proud of the natural way his limbs appear to terminate within them. As are we all, please do not kill me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:30 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Surely the ne plus ultra of whatever and however royal portraits might mean. How could you be aghast in any but the best of ways?
posted by dougmoon at 5:31 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm going to leave this right here.
posted by pmv at 5:31 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The problem started when the artist began to comprehend the royals' True Forms.
posted by The Whelk at 5:37 PM on November 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


Is the kid in the front row centre the same kid from It's a Good Life? Was the whole thing his idea? If so, it's good that the painting looks like this. It's a good painting. A real good painting.
posted by obscure simpsons reference at 5:38 PM on November 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


What's the point of having royals if they're not going to be clad in finery?
posted by Apocryphon at 5:39 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Honestly the first thing I thought of was "The Hands Resist Him", aka "the ebay haunted painting".
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:39 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Agreed, I won't want Royals Just Like Us, I want them alien and covered in jewels and possibly riding a very metaphorical onyx unicorn while arouunded with lesser aristocrats holding feathers.

Otherwise what's the point?
posted by The Whelk at 5:41 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Picture of Durian Grey. There's nothing rotten here, it just smells that way.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:45 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


What makes me want to kick somebody is the fact that the figures are not lit from the same direction. I mean, just how badly do you need the viewer to know that you painted it from a selection of unrelated photographs?
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:46 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Of all of the paintings on the walls in the In-Laws of Europe painting it references, they chose to pose the family in front of that one? Really? I would have posed the family in front of the painting of the In-Laws of Europe. Then I would have painted the family in low light so it looks like the brightness of the in-laws family picture is causing the current relatives to almost silhouette out. Instant improvement over this version.

On the other hand, the Queen's illustrations are fun!
posted by julen at 5:46 PM on November 19, 2013


The photoshop of Dorian Grey!
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I mean, just how badly do you need the viewer to know that you painted it from a selection of unrelated photographs?

Well, this is painted for the Danish people to look upon and marvel at, right?

It's not like they have knowledge of what natural sunlight looks like to compare it to.
posted by griphus at 5:48 PM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


There are a lot of assumptions being made here when it comes to the lighting, and that this was painted from multiple source photographs. But maybe not. Maybe this painting is a realistic reproduction from a single bad photoshop project. Did you think of that, Internet Detective Squad?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's no Las Meninas that's for sure.

So you're saying it's not as good as what is arguably the greatest painting ever made. Or that's at least in everybody's top 10 list.

No, it's not Las Meninas but that's not the yardstick to apply. Although I think that Las Meninas crossed the artist's mind as he composed this painting. Compare: Here's Las Meninas. Pretty creepy, too, in a way. (Click the Wiki page to enlarge, twice, and look at the details.) There are also allusions to John Singer Sargent's Daughters of Edward Darley Boit, itself a bit creepy and kind of an homage to Las Meninas.

the figures are not lit from the same direction

It's not a photograph, it's a painting. And it's a post-modern painting, not a standard old-school court portrait painting. One thing the varying lighting does is to make you focus individually on each person or group of people in the painting and consider their roles in the family and in the nation.

Royal families are often a little creepy and remote, often a little strange and mysterious, often enigmatic to their subjects. This painting reflects all those things very nicely.
posted by beagle at 6:03 PM on November 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


What makes me want to kick somebody is the fact that the figures are not lit from the same direction. I mean, just how badly do you need the viewer to know that you painted it from a selection of unrelated photographs?

I suspect the artist was aiming for the effect he achieved:

On Thomas Kluge
Stylistically, Kluge's art can be characterized as a kind of magic realism, and while making obvious art historical references he is also a significant postmodern innovator. In his works the precise depiction of humans and objects known from reality forms part of a universe which challenges the interpretations of the spectator, as they encompass something other and deeper than immediate, accurate likeness.


- http://dkks.dk/thomas-kluge-2


It's not a photograph, it's a painting. And it's a post-modern painting, not a standard old-school court portrait painting. One thing the varying lighting does is to make you focus individually on each person or group of people in the painting and consider their roles in the family and in the nation.


If you're immersed in the aesthetic, yes. If you're naive to post-modern painting, it just looks like ass.
posted by sebastienbailard at 6:06 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The difference between this painting and all the paintings it's being compared to is that those paintings are good, and this painting is bad.
posted by Sara C. at 6:12 PM on November 19, 2013 [4 favorites]



Royal families are often a little creepy and remote, often a little strange and mysterious, often enigmatic to their subjects. This painting reflects all those things very nicely.


Except I really doubt it's true for the Danes. I stood behind Crown Prince Frederik in line for food at Au Bon Pain in Cambridge, MA when he was there. Seemed like the kind of guy who does his job vis a vis the inherited mechanisms of Danish government, but is fully aware the rest of the time that his blood's red and his shit's brown.
posted by ocschwar at 6:28 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my goodness. The flaxen hair isn't there, and there's no unearthly glow in the children's eyes; but Village of the Damned came to mind.
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 6:33 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's got to be weird to read Hamlet for the first time if you are actually the prince of Denmark.
posted by Sara C. at 6:40 PM on November 19, 2013 [27 favorites]


I was thinking it looked like the poster for Tim Burton's Dark Shadows.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:41 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


oschwar: wow! The one in Harvard Square where they have to put a code on the bathroom door? Or the one in Central, where I once saw a local decompensating psychologically until the police had to be called to get her to have her screaming fit outside? The one in Kendall seems pretty much sane, but I can't imagine any of those places serving a Crowned Head of Europe. Scandinavian royalty seem like they're made of strong stuff.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:44 PM on November 19, 2013


And it's a post-modern painting

No. Not in the least bit. This guy spent a few weeks in art school, rejected it, and is basically an outsider. That Pomo irony you think you see? He's completely in earnest.

I had to look the guy up. After seeing that kluge of a painting, I thought Thomas Kluge was a hoax. I could only wish that were true. He's labeled a "neo-Realist." I do not think that word means what they think it means.

I occasionally see outsiders like this. They reject the Academy, by trying to do Academic painting better than them. They'll show everyone what art is all about! They are self-taught, and sometimes they can really sling the paint. But they have no idea what the purpose of painting is.

I mean look at this crap. Ooh lookit the chiaroscuro! What the f'ing hell did he think he was doing with that right eye? There's a highlight on the guy's forehead, just above the sunken shadow. Apparently lights project shadows, not highlights. The light is coming from the sitter's right, but the left side of the face, which should be in shadow, is evenly, brightly lit.

Now look at THIS crap. Ooh a multiportrait! Showing multiple aspects of one personality. Or not. This is the kind of precious crap a first year art student gets beat out of his system real fast. I am reminded of a story one of my painting teachers told me. He was taking a class from Grant Wood. He was working at his easel, working on some bit that he admitted was a little too precious. Wood came up and talked to him about it, and assessed that his student was a little bit too attached to his precious work. So Wood took a tube of red paint, smeared it directly onto the painting, and said, "look how precious it is now!"

I think what particularly irritates me about this clumsy crap is the hamfisted metaphor of looking through a doorway from a dark room into the light, a literal window into the world. And then I am doubly irritated by the poor perspective, the door frames and the walls do not line up, and the window is a skewed parallelogram. It is obvious this is incompetence rather than deliberate distortion. The guy only knows how to do 1 Point Perspective which you can see in the square insets in the right wall, behind the rightmost figure.

Now I want to break this guy's fingers. I am through analyzing this guys work. It makes me sick to my stomach.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:47 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


It's no Las Meninas that's for sure.

So you're saying it's not as good as what is arguably the greatest painting ever made. Or that's at least in everybody's top 10 list.


yeah, no, this definitely rates. "For the Love of God" remains the greatest artwork of the era, but this is in the range. No, I'm not joking. Y'all are giving me some excellent hurr-hurr-hurr over here, keep it up.
posted by mwhybark at 6:50 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is not a good painting. It's risible rather than thought-provoking. I think Kluge is probably a better hustler and promoter than an artist, but it seems to me a lot of contemporary fine artists are sort of like this.

I admit I like the painting of the background buildings, but a lot of the faces are so poorly over-rendered and stiff, it really seems like the airbrushed crap I saw on book covers back in the 1980s. It's photorealism, but bad photorealism, down to the crummy perspective and incoherent lighting.

Basically, what charlie don't surf said.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 6:52 PM on November 19, 2013


Now I want to break this guy's fingers. I am through analyzing this guys work. It makes me sick to my stomach.

you're killing me! so funny! are you serious? the point of the work is that capital accumulation is bad, and the joke is made at the expense of royalty. Napalm in the morning, charlie.
posted by mwhybark at 6:53 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]



oschwar: wow! The one in Harvard Square where they have to put a code on the bathroom door?


Yup. Dude was at Harvard for grad school. He made the news by renting an apartment without realizing that it was under rent control, and moved out immediately, which is how he was recognizeable to people who otherwise wouldn't know him from Adam.
posted by ocschwar at 6:53 PM on November 19, 2013


you guys! STOP! oh my god!
posted by mwhybark at 6:54 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


no, sorry, I mean: keep it up.
posted by mwhybark at 6:54 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This guy is not joking. He is serious. He wouldn't know irony if it punched him in the face.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:55 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't know anything about the Danish monarchy except for the Danish prince who became king of Norway.

Pulled the old Reverse Fortinbras, eh?
posted by The Underpants Monster at 6:55 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wait, is this painting Charlie Don't Surf linked of Price-Consort Henrik? Mr. Belvedere (or at least, the guy who played him) lives!
posted by dhens at 7:03 PM on November 19, 2013


Surely the artist is a republican deeply opposed to the idea of monarchy and this is his bold statement of opposition.

I refuse to believe anything else for my own emotional stability.
posted by winna at 7:05 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


What if this is a massive joke about the fact that the famous Armory Show opened in New York exactly 100 years ago?

A century ago, the public saw Nude Descending A Staircase for the first time and laughed with horror at what an abomination it was.

In 2013, we're looking at this and doing the same thing.

That said, again, this painting is bad, and not just because it's figurative or conservative or anything like that. It's just bad. Also, it hardly needs to be said, but obviously Nude Descending A Staircase is good.

Also it reminds me a lot of the art I saw the time I went on a tour of a Mormon Temple.
posted by Sara C. at 7:05 PM on November 19, 2013


I mean look at this crap. Ooh lookit the chiaroscuro! What the f'ing hell did he think he was doing with that right eye? There's a highlight on the guy's forehead, just above the sunken shadow. Apparently lights project shadows, not highlights. The light is coming from the sitter's right, but the left side of the face, which should be in shadow, is evenly, brightly lit.

I think that's the result of using a strong key light on one side and a weak fill light on the other side. And I think he should have lit the sitter differently.


Now look at THIS crap. Ooh a multiportrait!

It is difficult to see from the photograph, but it's a Triptych - three images set next to each other. I'm not saying they are composed well next to each other.
posted by sebastienbailard at 7:22 PM on November 19, 2013


you guys! STOP! oh my god!
posted by mwhybark at 21:54 on November 19 [+] [!]

no, sorry, I mean: keep it up.
posted by mwhybark at 21:54 on November 19 [+] [!]


grade-school-level trolling, dude. "aw man, they're breakin' this way, so I'm gonna break that way." and not even subtle about acting the peanut gallery. no points, back to remedial.
posted by Rustic Etruscan at 7:23 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Huh ...what would a complex, ironic, historically-informed but boundary-pushing royal portrait look like I wonder....
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


If it were me I'd get Gerhard Richter.
posted by Sara C. at 7:28 PM on November 19, 2013


Sara C.: "It's got to be weird to read Hamlet for the first time if you are actually the prince of Denmark."

Or if you're dating the Prince of Denmark.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:31 PM on November 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Whelk: "Huh ...what would a complex, ironic, historically-informed but boundary-pushing royal portrait look like I wonder...."

Nice try, Banksy.
posted by Dr. Zira at 7:35 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So the Danish Royal Family apparently live in a sub-sub-basement of Riget.

Now that show is starting to make more sense...
posted by droplet at 8:18 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


IRL seriously if I were royalty I would probably commission something by Chuck Close.
posted by Sara C. at 8:40 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is difficult to see from the photograph, but it's a Triptych - three images set next to each other.

To have one such portrait, Mr. sebastienbailard, may be regarded as a misfortune. To have three looks like indecorousness.

But seriously, the triptychs attempts to form a single picture in a unified pictorial space, which is probably the most common type of triptych. Or it would if he knew how to do perspective properly.

(regarding the poorly lit portrait) I think that's the result of using a strong key light on one side and a weak fill light on the other side. And I think he should have lit the sitter differently.

No, that's the result of the painter never having learned how to see light. He is painting what he thinks light is supposed to do, what he wants it to do, not what he sees it actually doing. This is why you can't paint from photos, you're not seeing the light, it's already fixed by the camera settings.

Huh ...what would a complex, ironic, historically-informed but boundary-pushing royal portrait look like I wonder....

I particularly liked the postmodernist portrait done at Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee, I bought one, I still have it, I should get it framed. The official Diamond Jubilee portrait is less aggressive, but more historically informed, I'd have to get a closer look but that floor seems to be a reference to the tiled floors in Holebein's French Ambassadors. But it looks too slick and illustrative, it could be a book cover of a romance novel. And what the hell do Aussies know about art anyway? The current portrait of Elizabeth by Lucien Freud is the strongest work. Five hundred years from now The Freud will be THE portrait, the others forgotten.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:26 PM on November 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


IRL seriously if I were royalty I would probably commission something by Chuck Close Jones.

FTFM.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:33 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


This guy is not joking. He is serious. He wouldn't know irony if it punched him in the face.

Charlie, I don't disagree. I think we actually are seeing the same thing - it's quite terrible, technically. I see that as triumphant, as a form of truth that escapes the hand of the creator. His intent, and that of his patrons, is not germane.

R. E., I understand your calumny, buI I am not trolling. This is awesome.
posted by mwhybark at 9:45 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'd do what Chipp Kidd did and hire the most famous manga artist alive to draw an S&M eoritc comic book about me and my boyfriend four our anniversaary.
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


In all seriousness, why don't royal types commission portraits from people who are considered to be the great artists, anymore?

Nobody gives a shit about the painter of that official Elizabeth portrait.

But people would definitely remember a portrait of Elizabeth done by David Hockney.

Is it a matter of money?

It can't be about republicanism or artists being political iconoclasts -- the vast majority of successful artists get good at dealing with the ultra-wealthy and establishment figures.
posted by Sara C. at 9:50 PM on November 19, 2013


Steichen claimed he did not see the knife.

Granted, he was technically accomplished.
posted by mwhybark at 9:53 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm still waiting for the Clayton Cubutt official royal portrait myself, but these things are parts of Statecraft and thus bound of to be three million times more injected with Convserative Tradition than most things , which is odd because it highlights an irony - someone who is a royal would have the most ability to didtate how they wanted it to look but also be under the most amount of pressure from outside forces to make it as traditional as possible. When you're thinking about people as elbems of institutions with Duties, you get into a weird place with personal aesthetic preferences.
posted by The Whelk at 9:57 PM on November 19, 2013


That portrait is just awful... and that family must be really unattractive or the artist just isn't that good.
posted by _paegan_ at 10:01 PM on November 19, 2013


Yeah, I get that, but I think there are enough Establishment artists who are understood to be part of the canon at this point, that you could find someone who struck exactly the right note of Traditions and Institutions, and hell, even Patriotism.

Isn't someone like Hockney basically Britain's modern day equivalent of someone like Holbein? Why get a nobody to make an "homage" to Holbein in a floor, when you could get someone as great today as Holbein actually was in his day?

I don't think the royals should go down to the art school and get the most avant garde asshole they can find, but, you know, just someone who will ensure that this portrait will not just be hanging in a government office somewhere but actually be considered important art.
posted by Sara C. at 10:03 PM on November 19, 2013


Sara C.: "In all seriousness, why don't royal types commission portraits from people who are considered to be the great artists, anymore?"

Well, they do; Annie Leibovitz did Queen Elizabeth II.

But in the world of Hans Holbein and other court painters who painted many of the best-known portraits of rulers, the art very much was in capturing the person in a reasonably life-like (but appropriately admiring) fashion. This was the only way to do it, realist figural work was ascendant in art, and court artists got paid a lot and had good patrons and good tools and supplies.

Today, after the modern and post-modern movements in art, and after the introduction of photography, the question of a painted portrait is a little different, and while I came up with half a dozen abstract artists with well-known names off the top of my (not-very-art-educated) head, the only portraitist I could think of immediately was Annie Liebovitz. And then there are other forms of figural art that we more closely association with film -- animated-type figures, 3D models made of materials other than wood or stone -- that could probably be put to good use as portrait media but would be questioned as too "casual" or "childish" in that role.

And the other reason, I think, is that the European royals are showing a lot more awareness of "buying local" -- the Scandinavian royal woman, for example, virtually always wear national designers even to big events, even when those designers do not quite rise to the occasion (why no, I don't follow royal fashion blogs obsessively, why do you ask?). So you're trying to find a great portrait artist, who works in a realist style, who's alive today, and lives in your country, and is interested in creating a picture of royals. It's a narrower field than past monarchs faced.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:15 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, FWIW I think notable portrait photographers would also be perfectly apt. And did not know Annie Leibovitz shot QEII.

In fact, when I thought of "high art folks who totally should have done royal portraits", the first person who came to mind was Robert Mapplethorpe. Though I think that, when he was alive, he was probably too controversial. Also I assume most royals commission a countryman/subject as the Official Painter.

Hence why Hockney would be so perfect for the job.

1. He's a figurative painter rather than abstract.
2. He's an agreed-on part of the canon at this point.
3. He's definitely super good.
4. He's not so avant garde that he wouldn't take the commission -- he's definitely part of the establishment.
5. He's British.

FWIW figurativism is definitely back with a vengeance in painting since roughly the abstract expressionist period (the 1950s). There are still lots of abstract artists, but there are MANY painters to choose from who are well respected and not just throwing paint at the ceiling or whatever.

Though I gotta say, what would REALLY throw folks for a loop is if the Danish royal family had commissioned an official portrait by Ellsworth Kelly.
posted by Sara C. at 10:27 PM on November 19, 2013


If this guy is in earnest and not a postmodern genius, then the postmodern credit simply goes to the royal family for picking him. I don't particularly care where the authorial credit lies, and it could be no where at all apart from a serendipitous accident of capitalism, art, hucksterism, and royal inbreeding. It's still an awesome painting, as measured by my most important metric: it keeps me looking far longer than many others I've recently seen in contemporary galleries.
posted by chortly at 10:35 PM on November 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


In all seriousness, why don't royal types commission portraits from people who are considered to be the great artists, anymore?

Royal types tend to want a well-crafted realistic figure painting that provides a striking visual image, reproduces the features well, shows the sitter's character, and can't be considered grotesque or vulgar. Meaning a sensitive treatment of facial features that one might characterize as pre-modern.

Most contemporary artists considered to be great aren't doing well-crafted realistic figure paintings, and most people nearly everyone doing well-crafted realistic figure paintings aren't considered to be great artists. And almost all art schools have completely de-emphasized teaching students how to do a well-crafted realistic figure painting by the standards of a french academic painter, or an impressionistic painter with previous academic training in well-crafted realistic figure painting. Meaning students who are interested in painting the figure teach themselves to do it outside of the context of a generic university fine arts degree. With mixed to poor results.

and while I came up with half a dozen abstract artists with well-known names off the top of my (not-very-art-educated) head, the only portraitist I could think of immediately was Annie Liebovitz.


Yeah, I was going through the same process. Odd Nerdrum, and ... ?
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:42 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh God, I have tears in my eyes from laughing at this painting. It is so, so bad. That Buzzfeed commenter is right, this does look like a cover from a V.C. Andrews novel.

You be the judge: the keyhole/stepback covers from the Flowers in the Attic (Dollenganger) series: Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday.

Wow, I just learned that the paintings for the Flowers in the Attic covers were done by 1960s singer/actress Gillian Hills (she was in Blow Up and A Clockwork Orange and sang the earworm "Zou Bisou Bisou"). Weird.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 10:58 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is unfortunate, as I've always thought that the Crown Prince and princess seemed like a fun couple. I hope they, too, are laughing themselves sick over it.

It's arguably better than Kate Middleton's portrait, in which she looks like a chain-smoking 50 year old.
posted by orrnyereg at 11:30 PM on November 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


You be the judge: the keyhole/stepback covers from the Flowers in the Attic (Dollenganger) series: Flowers in the Attic, Petals on the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday.
Those got me giggling and I can't stop.
posted by dougzilla at 11:46 PM on November 19, 2013


"HRH Prince Christian was christened in Christiansborg Palace Chapel on 21 January 2006." say that 5X fast.
posted by twjordan at 11:47 PM on November 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Charlie's shoutout to Freud's QE2 was well considered, but of course Freud's dead, and Chuck Close is American. One presumes the field of candidates that fit the bill (representative painters, Danish, regarded as worthy of critical attention, etc) might be narrow enough that this guy was the only candidate.
posted by mwhybark at 12:00 AM on November 20, 2013


elizardbits: "the Danish prince who became king of Norway

Wait, what? Did he evolve like a pokemon?
"

Yes.

Danish prince -> King of Norway -> Eurovision Song Contest Winner
posted by krinklyfig at 2:19 AM on November 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


The kids are straight off the old cover of The Shining. In the artist's defense, my first thought was Joyce Carol Oates's Bellefleur.
posted by einexile at 4:12 AM on November 20, 2013


Charlie, I don't disagree. I think we actually are seeing the same thing - it's quite terrible, technically. I see that as triumphant, as a form of truth that escapes the hand of the creator.

Sort of "Ozymandias" without the intentionality?

As for Stephen King: I'm a little worried that this painting is a cousin to the one in "The Road Virus Goes North."
posted by thomas j wise at 4:28 AM on November 20, 2013


It's arguably better than Kate Middleton's portrait, in which she looks like a chain-smoking 50 year old.

MMV, obnov, but I've always thought that Kate Middleton doesn't look entirely dissimilar from a chain-smoking 50-year-old in real life. Her face is thin and has very severe vertical lines to begin with. Instead of softening them with light makeup, she accentuates them with heavy foundation; enough eyeliner and brow pencil to make Nefertiti look fresh-scrubbed; and one can only assume that her pet charity is to personally keep the world's bronzer industry from going under. She seems like a nice lady, and has more raw material to work with than I ever will, but I hope she's not crying foul on a portrait that paints her to the ideal she paints herself to in the mirror every morning.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:46 AM on November 20, 2013


Meanwhile, in California.
posted by sebastienbailard at 5:56 AM on November 20, 2013


It's still an awesome painting, as measured by my most important metric: it keeps me looking far longer than many others I've recently seen in contemporary galleries.
You just know that right now David Icke has this portrait up on PictureViewer somewhere and is busy sketching out a chapter outline for his new book.
posted by Sonny Jim at 6:14 AM on November 20, 2013




There's a good argument for royalty. But look at that painting!
posted by ersatz at 6:19 AM on November 20, 2013


If I were part of a royal family, I would commission portraits that looked traditional on the outside, but that front layer was intentionally made to degrade and flake away with age, slowly revealing demon faces and occult symbols.
posted by jason_steakums at 6:23 AM on November 20, 2013 [7 favorites]


Meanwhile, back in the country my grandpa Lundin left as a teen, the Swedish royal family appears to be models in a Baby Gap ad. http://tinyurl.com/mw4noah
Awwww.

(Grandpa, why did you leave such a charming, socialist medicine, non-Homeland-Securityized country? Same question for my Canadian ancestors.)
posted by NorthernLite at 7:44 AM on November 20, 2013


And to think this is the same country that gave us Hammershøi!

... which, come to think of it, is like the perfect antidote: his paintings are also haunting, but in a much less creepily garish way.
posted by Westringia F. at 8:25 AM on November 20, 2013


uggh, I look at those Hammershoi paintings, such severe, uncluttered beauty ... but they make me want to hurt myself. Because we need clutter in our lives, stacks of unorganized stuff, and things. Unfinished projects, remnants of last Tuesday's whatever ...
posted by philip-random at 8:55 AM on November 20, 2013


A propos of nothing, here's a couple of pics of the Queen of England hanging out with some American dudes.

That one of the Queen dancing with Ford is quite sweet.
posted by Hicksu at 9:44 AM on November 20, 2013


goodnewsfortheinsane - someone needs to make a tumblblog of Michelle Obama Hating World Leaders.

The look on her face standing next to Prince Phillip is awe inspiring.
posted by Sara C. at 10:25 AM on November 20, 2013


I love how two of the three women in the painting are staring at children.
posted by gottabefunky at 10:53 AM on November 20, 2013


A propos of nothing, here's a couple of pics of the Queen of England hanging out with some American dudes.

Wow, JFK and Prince Philip were two handsome dudes in '61, but they just fade into the wallpaper next to that symphony in blue and silver.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 10:59 AM on November 20, 2013




for a contemporary take on royal portraiture, I've always liked this one of Margrethe. It's flattering and respectful, but still a real painting in its own right. This one has some of the neoclassical qualities the queen seems to like, but is done by a real painter rather than a comic amateur. (For many years, Kluge would carry on in a cape and baret, all Disney-cartoon-artist style. He seems to have cut down on that now).
For a critical/ironic approach to formal portraiture, no Danish painting beats this - a picture of former prime minister, war-monger and Bush-puppet Anders Fogh Rasmussen by punk painter and pilot Simone Aaberg Kærn. As strange as anything, but definitely deliberate on her side. (Alliteration is very traditional in Scandinavian culture)
posted by mumimor at 12:22 PM on November 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


> uggh, I look at those Hammershoi paintings, such severe, uncluttered beauty ... but they make me want to hurt myself. Because we need clutter in our lives, stacks of unorganized stuff, and things. Unfinished projects, remnants of last Tuesday's whatever ...

I actually find the Hammershøi pretty unnerving too. The starkly spare rooms & landscapes; the wintery light; the way we only see the subject from behind, never engaging with her (which is creepy in its own way!)... it all gives me a sense of profound & painful loneliness. But the unsettlingness of it is also why I love it so much! De gustibus non est disputandum, et cetera, though between Hammershøi & Kluge we can probably agree that Danish artists have run the entire spectral gamut of discomfiting portraiture ;)

And a total aside, but if you are driven to self-harm after a pageful of Hammershøi, I urge you extreme caution should you ever visit the Statens Museum for Kunst/National Gallery of Art in Copenhagen. You will be treated to a gallery of exquisitely/excruciatingly solitary Hammershøi (which are even more stark in person), funneled from there into a room full L.A. Ring's exceptionally macabre work (cf Evening. Death and the Old Woman), only to then be socked with N.H. Jacobsen's sculptures Shadow and Motif from The Story of a Mother*....

This, friends, is how I ended up on the floor of the National Gallery of Denmark with tears running down my face. I wandered across one of the bridges that connect the pre-1900's art wings to the modern art wings and wondered momentarily how artfully I could swandive from it. But I'm glad that I didn't, because then I came to Kirsten Justesen's amazing (and HUGE -- the diagonal is a good 7 feet!) photograph Lunch, and everything was better. Really. Go look at Lunch for a while and see if it doesn't fix everything.

[Justesen links are NSFW if you work amongst prudes who can't distinguish feminist art involving women's bodies from porn.]


* If you don't know HC Andersen's Story of a Mother: what is happening here is that this mother, whose child has just been taken by death and who is herself bleeding from a recent encounter with a thornbush, is literally CRYING HER EYES OUT. When she rises, blind, she continues chasing Death until she finds her child by the sound of his heartbeat. [Yes, yes, the child is dead; pay no mind to it's tell-tale heart!] She demands her child back, at which point Death gives her back her eyes (which he had oh-so-gamely fished out of the lake for her) for the sole purpose of showing her two visions of the future: one full of prosperity and happiness, the other full of sickness and despair. One of these, Death tells her, will be her child's lot. She screams in terror, pleading to know which it will be, but Death---being a sadistic mf---refuses to say. And so she entreats Death to keep her son, begging that he be delivered from such potential misery into the hands of God. And they all lived happily -- goodnight, kids, sleep tight!

posted by Westringia F. at 1:55 PM on November 20, 2013 [8 favorites]


Also available in black velvet. Order yours today!
posted by Pudhoho at 10:26 PM on November 20, 2013




And I'm personally a big fan of Queen Elizabeth's 1970 portrait.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 9:25 AM on November 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


what just gazed into me
posted by tigrrrlily at 11:14 AM on November 25, 2013


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