Kate Middleton's portrait is called "rotten," "dour" and much worse
Kate Middleton's official royal portrait was unveiled at London's National Portrait Gallery on Friday — and most critics wish it had stayed under wraps.
Painter Paul Emsley's dark-hued depiction of the Duchess of Cambridge was called "rotten" and "dour" by some of the United Kingdom's best known art critics.
"Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing like this in real life," wrote Robin Simon, the editor of the British Art Journal and the leading critic for the tabloid Daily Mail. "I'm really sad to say this is a rotten portrait."
David Lee, the former editor of Art Review magazine and founder of the satirical art publication the Jackdaw, called it the "most bland and predictable royal portrait in living memory."
"Even her smile is half-hearted," he continued. "It looks like the sort of withered grin she might manage after being subjected to three hours of native dancing in the Pacific."
Sunday Times critic Waldemar Januszczak took a more staid approach, calling the painting "pretty ordinary."
"He made her look older than she is and her eyes don't sparkle in the way that they do," he said. "And there's something rather dour about the face."
Folks on Twitter compared it to singer Rhianna's bloodied, swollen face in the infamous TMZ photo snapped after her then-boyfriend Chris Brown assaulted her.
A parody account of Prince Charles tweeted an image of the portrait, disfigured with the face of the viral Spanish fresco painting of Jesus Christ, notoriously ruined by an elderly, amateur artist tasked with restoring it.
"Ordered a portrait of Kate for her 31st birthday," the account tweeted. "Have decided to keep it until her 50th. Awkward."
Glynnis MacNicol, a reporter at Capital New York, wrote: "Is that really the official portrait or did someone just stick a Kate Middleton jpeg in one of those 'age yourself' apps?"
Times of London lifestyle reporter Daisy Greenwell: "The first official portrait of Kate Middleton looks like one of those cheesy 1980s misty photo shoots, doesn't it?"
Twitter user Alf Brawn: "Kate Middleton's portrait looks more like Prince William than her."