The award-winning artist revealed his portrait of the duchess of Cambridge at the National Portrait Gallery in London Friday. Art critics and social media users alike are not impressed.
"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," Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak said.
"This is a a rotten portrait," British Art Journal editor Robin Simon told The Daily Mail.
Twitter users weighed in:
Camilla's given Kate Middleton's portrait a slight touch up. Big improvement. twitpic.com/bubrym— Prince Charles (@Charles_HRH) January 11, 2013
Does the Palace SERIOUSLY hate Kate Middleton? See the proof... gossipgirl.alloyentertainment.com/kate-middleton…— Gossip Girl (@gossipgirl) January 11, 2013
According to a release on Prince Charles' website, Kate participated in two sittings with Emsley, who also used photographs to finish the look.
The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally -- her natural self -- as opposed to her official self. 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.
Naturally, Kate only had nice things to say about the painting. When the duke and duchess of Cambridge visited the National Portrait Gallery in London for a viewing, the pregnant Kate reportedly called it "just amazing." "I thought it was brilliant," she said, according to The Sun.
"It's beautiful, absolutely beautiful," William said.
If you are working with someone who has whose face is just a lovely face, it's harder to find something in the portrait that gives it some sort of gravitas. In this case I've tried to do that with the smile and the dimples and the shadows around the face.