Buckingham Palace has unveiled the first official portrait of King Charles after his coronation

The first official portrait of King Charles since he ascended the throne has been unveiled and it’s oddly horrifying.

The portrait, by artist Jonathan Yeo (who has also painted portraits of Sir David Attenborough, Tony Blair and Malala Yousafzai) captures the king in the uniform of the Welsh Guards against a throbbing, bright-pink-into-deep-red abstract background. It raises a lot more questions than it answers. Such as: Why is he bathed in blood? Why does it look more like a Cannibal Corpse album cover than a portrait of a royal? Why is there a butterfly on his shoulder, what’s it trying to tell him? Why does this painting inspire fear instead of reverence or respect? 

Jonathan Yeo portrait of King Charles III
Image: Jonathan Yeo Studio

The BBC reports that Queen Camilla is said to have looked at the painting and told Yeo: ‘Yes, you’ve got him.’ So we can only assume that his everyday look when he’s walking around his palaces is one of terrifying, viscera- and blood-drenched gore, that he exudes a constant menacing aura of violence and perpetually appears to have just emerged from the very insides of his enemies’ guts. 

To take the violent edge off, Yeo says the butterfly on His Majesty’s shoulder symbolises ‘the beauty of nature and highlights the [King’s] environmental causes’. Which nicely distracts from all the horror, doesn’t it. 

Jonathan Yeo’s portrait is on public display at Philip Mould Gallery May 16-Jun 14. More details here

Want art with less gore? Try the top ten exhibitions in London.

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