Mess or Masterpiece? Portrait of Duchess Kate revealed - Page 2
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Thread: Mess or Masterpiece? Portrait of Duchess Kate revealed

  1. #31
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    Egh, I dunno. The rendering skill of the portrait is decent, but like a lot of the popular realism art in the UK, it shouts "photograph". It's devoid of any emotion or character and is pretty, well... boring. There are many artists in the UK that could've handled the job much better.

    Edit: Not trying to come off as too whiny. I think it's a good painting. I guess with such a big commission like this it's natural for it to be open for heavy criticism, given that it should be showing off the best of what's out there. The main thing I really just don't like is the scale like Elwell mentioned. It turns it from a portrait to pop art.

    Last edited by B u r l; January 15th, 2013 at 02:06 PM.
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    I wonder what Kate had to say about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Butch007 View Post
    My complaint is that the proportion of everything is there and it's a far better than average painting, but the details aren't tack sharp. I just get the sense that in 2013, with all of the knowledge painters have access to now and the general emphasis on realism being what it is paintings of official nation dignitaries should be almost photographically sharp instead of leaning a bit toward impressionistic. Obviously it's not impressionistic, but it just lacks the sharpness to give it the punch one can't get from expressionistic posing, costume, hair or make-up IMO.
    Yes dammit, where's all that 2013 swagger, dat painting needs moar sharpness™.

    Quote Originally Posted by Wooly ESS View Post
    I wonder what Kate had to say about it.
    It's mentioned in the article, it's pretty much typical layman reaction.

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    It's meh. No vigor. The ref photo has way more character than the painting, and that says a lot. The technique shows skill, but the skill isn't applied with any awareness of the model's character.

    As for have we, as the public, lost the ability to appreciate true portraiture because of the photographic bombardment... I am not sure the public really had it in the first place.

    Back when painted portraits were nearly the sole way to get one's picture, there had been tons of bad portraitists around. Some trained artists had developed the ability to convey life and character, but not all of them. And it takes some training to distinguish vigor and true character in painting. So I suspect that while artists would have been much more discerning, the public simply stopped caring beyond getting a more or less passable likeness, as long as it was flattering them and conformed to the popular taste of the time.

    Some subcultures did seem to develop a taste for good portraiture, otherwise I don't know how to explain the overall high level of the product - I could name 17th century Dutch or late 19th century Russian artists. But overall, the art market was full of uninspired shoddy stuff just like now. It's just that we seldom see the poor quality pictures in major museums, and it gives us a skewed view of quality. If you picked up archives (where available), you'd find discussions just like this one, about poorly done overpriced celebrity (aristocracy) portraits, or major flame wars about perceived qualities of the painting du jour that got the Academy medal but which no one even remembers nowadays. So this particular one, I think, is on par with the usual century-old discourse... it's just that now, with prevalence of photography, causes for such discussions are rare.

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    I liked it a whole lot better before you guys dug up the reference... now it's just an decent photo copy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Should have had Hale do it. In any of the repos I can find it is just a dead painting. For me the worst kind of portraiture. A seeming photo copy. I don't understand. Well I do understand. We seem, as a culture, to be losing our taste for the real in favor of the representational.
    Paul Emsley was the wrong artist to paint this portrait, as would be Phil Hale I think, and I’m personally a massive fan of Hale. Emsley’s other work is fine, but he doesn’t do ‘pretty’. Any portrait of Middleton that doesn’t flatter her and make her ‘pretty’ is going to be seen as inadequate, which is why Emsley was wrong. Hale does gravitas and intellect really well, which is why he was perfect for a ‘statesman’ like Tony Bliar, because that approach also flatters the subject with that fantastic portrait. However that wouldn’t be the requirement for a portrait of Kate Middleton, ‘the people’s darling’. Whomever makes these decisions over commissioning royal portraiture really doesn't get it. Personally I think they should have got Rolf Harris to do it. Or the Muppet workshop.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eezacque@xs4all.nl View Post
    On second thought, I noticed the video gives a more colourful rendering of the portrait, including the usual qualifications of 'it's almost like a picture' and 'a Mona Lisa smile'...
    Actually, my initial reaction to it was, well it's no Mona Lisa.

    I know I couldnt do anything remotely as good as an artist but as a viewer, I find it pretty dead and boring. There's no magic to it and even setting aside flattery of Kate Middleton, it just doesn't do her any justice. There's no mischief or sparkle like there is in her photos, and the physical proportions of her face look all wrong to me. Like the artist made her face too fat and round about the cheek area but too long and sharp in the chin area. And her eyes, nose and mouth are too small for the size of her face. It also looks a bit flat generally because there's too little contrast between the lights and darks for me, and the softened edges don't give a sense of depth, rather they just make everything look blurry and out of focus.

    A shame really because from the images of her I've seen, and the times I've seen her on tv, Kate Middleton is full of life. Oh well. Hopefully there'll be plenty more portraits to come and some of those will be better.

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    As someone said earlier its very competent. Its a beautiful painting of a beautiful woman.

    People should take their bullshit criticism and go hide somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SwedishMichelangelo View Post
    People should take their bullshit criticism and go hide somewhere.
    You should heed your own advice.

    Your critical attitude toward the critiques of the painting presented in this thread qualifies for bullshit status. Sure (in the grand scheme of painting from amateur to alpha-dog portraitist) this painting of a woman’s face is competent, to say the most, but as a commissioned portrait of a specific individual, the likeness is less than competent--to say the least about the painting in general.

    Last edited by bill618; January 12th, 2013 at 10:26 AM.
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    Well the painting in overall is a very well done portrait. But for the exposure and hype it's getting, it's really not living up to. I've seen so much better.

    But you know, it's that whole portrait craze. As soon as someone makes a portrait that's at least close to photo real it's considered a masterpiece by the general public. It's kinda like when they make super polished games, they get so hyped because of the graphics that people start forgetting other important things.

    Soo.. It's a nice portrait, but it's over hyped.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MidgardSerpent View Post
    It's mentioned in the article, it's pretty much typical layman reaction.
    The lady isn't exactly in a position to give her opinion, other than a predictable positive one...

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    Quote Originally Posted by SwedishMichelangelo View Post
    As someone said earlier its very competent. Its a beautiful painting of a beautiful woman.

    People should take their bullshit criticism and go hide somewhere.
    What a clever observation. We, as artists some professional, should not give our opinions about other people's work on a site in a forum where opinions are valued and argued. Bravo.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    We, as artists some professional, should not give our opinions about other people's work on a site in a forum where opinions are valued and argued. Bravo.
    without the creator knowing about it? i dont think so. i think its rude and dismissive. not like there aint enough art posted here, by the artist with the intention of the artist to recieve feedback. whats the point/benefit anyway?


    Quote Originally Posted by Syle View Post
    Was this directed at me, or the original owner of the article?
    at you actually. i see i should have worded the offensive part differently though, and i apologize for that.

    funny bill618 mentioned nelson shanks, because we had a quite similar discussion some time ago, where i had the same problem ^^. (post #34)


    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    What gives man? Did you somehow miss this: Posted on Today News feed?

    We post things here all the f-ing time to have discussion. Here's a valid f-ing discussion about a fairly major portrait...but we can't discuss it? Bill Carman nailed it as well...dead painting...worst kind of portraiture...a seeming photo copy. TBH it's boring as fuck. As far as anyone can tell the artist wasn't there, didn't put up with the royals and lacked the artisitic integrity to do anything more than project up a photo and paint by numbers.

    Just my cheap opinion.

    And by the way...that level of "job" should absolutely give you the freedom for truthful artistic expression...if you have the balls to stand on your integrity. Anything less is prostitution.
    ive seen that feed, i didnt know this topic is hyped in the mass-media as much, though (my gf seen it mentioned in the local news). i dont care what some non-artist posts/broadcasts/... about any artwork, but i would expect artists to handle that topic more sensitively, knowing how hard it can be. 67% said the portrait doesnt look like kate... hahaha c'mon shes clearly recognisable. so much for laymens opinions.

    didn't put up with the royals... if youre an uk based artist, publicly commissioned by an official institution to create a portrait of one of the royals... you think he didnt have to?

    anyway, integrity is a big word. easily backfires aswell.


    really liked aly fells response... way to go about it imo without beeing dismissive and all smartass... "id have painted that nose/whatever differently." c'mon.

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    without the creator knowing about it? i dont think so. i think its rude and dismissive. not like there aint enough art posted here, by the artist with the intention of the artist to recieve feedback. whats the point/benefit anyway?
    Are you kidding? So you are limiting your critiques of artwork to those pieces whose creators are dead or actively participating? The point and/or benefit is different for each participant and is not for you to decide.

    I'm sure the guy who painted this could give two shits about what we say.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Are you kidding? So you are limiting your critiques of artwork to those pieces whose creators are dead or actively participating? The point and/or benefit is different for each participant and is not for you to decide.

    I'm sure the guy who painted this could give two shits about what we say.
    its not on me to decide (its been a question) and if you manage to come up with a valid point, im quite willing to reconsider my stance.

    then why say it at all? not like anyone learned anything from that... telling yourself "oh i would have done that" is just masturbation and ego stroking without meeting the need to back it up.

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    Look, there are places on the internet where I agree that drop by anonymous crit and commentary are wimpy and unnecessary. But here, in a community of artists, this is part of what has been missing. Somewhere where we can come make some comments, from a point of knowledge and understanding, without the threat of, "you shouldn't call other people names" criticism. If you don't feel qualified to criticize this artwork then don't participate. If you feel like others here are not qualified to participate maybe you can confront them. But I feel like I am qualified to criticize and sometimes enjoy playing the, "I can't believe this person got this commission game." Harmless and certainly, again, doesn't effect the artist at all, whom I'm sure, is well above the fray.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Look, there are places on the internet where I agree that drop by anonymous crit and commentary are wimpy and unnecessary. But here, in a community of artists, this is part of what has been missing. Somewhere where we can come make some comments, from a point of knowledge and understanding, without the threat of, "you shouldn't call other people names" criticism. If you don't feel qualified to criticize this artwork then don't participate. If you feel like others here are not qualified to participate maybe you can confront them. But I feel like I am qualified to criticize and sometimes enjoy playing the, "I can't believe this person got this commission game." Harmless and certainly, again, doesn't effect the artist at all, whom I'm sure, is well above the fray.
    i just question the expertise in general. how many here have done those kind of jobs?

    its easy to say ... oh this doenst work... not having had to put up with those compromises (all commercial gigs bring along, some less some more). in all gigs i had, the bigger, the more people had their say (quite often not for the better of the outcome, subjectively). its easy to proclaim something, sitting in your studio, just doing your thing.

    id be pretty damn scared of all the reaction such a job causes... luckily im not good enough to be asked .

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    That's just the thing that is fun to discuss. I don't have the advantage of living in a place where I can go down to a cafe and sit around with my "peers" and discuss the art of the day. So I look for places to go online to have those discussions. This used to be such a place. Now there are so many people at all different stages, which is a great thing for the most part, that everyone chimes in on every discussion whether they have expertise or not. I want to be able to go somewhere and question what my fellow pros are doing. Critique should go on at all levels. This painting is not good. Now I have given the caveat of poor repro, but still for someone doing something at such a high level I always expect the highest quality. We quite often don't that quality and when we don't I believe I have the right to express my opinion. Whether that is cathartic for me or helps another less experienced artist is no one's concern but my own.

    Those few times in the last 10 years when I have gotten together with artist friends we love to talk about other work good and bad. If I can't do it here then I'll find other places. But I will always respond when called to the carpet.

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    Well, to me the portrait looks like an adequate copy of a photograph. The portrait doesn't show much character, but perhaps that tells us something in itself. Kate may need a few more miles on her and a few more trials and tribulations in her life for her character to start to show.

    The artist probably made a mistake in publishing his reference photo, or using a reference photo already in the public eye.

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    Just to clarify for some that aren't getting it, no one is saying Emsley sucks. They're saying his style doesn't exactly fit the person he is painting. Nobody here is saying Emsley sucks or giving unnecessary and cruel criticism. They're just saying this particular piece doesn't fit well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    That's just the thing that is fun to discuss. I don't have the advantage of living in a place where I can go down to a cafe and sit around with my "peers" and discuss the art of the day. So I look for places to go online to have those discussions.
    fair point.


    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    This painting is not good ... for someone doing something at such a high level I always expect the highest quality. ... Whether that is cathartic for me or helps another less experienced artist is no one's concern but my own.
    i like that for creating discourse. yet i fail to see how this is supposed to help anyone. whom would it help to say "i dont like it", other than yourself venting? [edit] alot of things dont need the justification to be helping, but then dont disguise it as something thats ment to...[/edit]

    noones concern but your own? youre not just saying it out loud beeing alone with yourself. for someone defending his right to voice his opinion, youre rather restrictive, if it comes to others, it seems to me.

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    OK, now you're telling me that if I say something out loud that I need to be concerned how much it concerns everyone who might read it? I also said more than I don't like it. I believe lifeless. And words like that can spark discussion. No one's concern but my own is perfectly valid. I will never feel obligated to support everything I have or ever will say. I'm not sure I understand your criticism of rather restrictive. You seem to be jumping all over the place with your crit of me having the right to crit. I don't need to defend my right to opinion. I have an opinion but how it that relates to others is your crit of me? Restrictive?
    youre not just saying it out loud beeing alone with yourself.
    Opinions can't be shared unless they fit your idea of what can be shared? If it doesn't benefit mankind as a whole I can't share it? You have never and never will share an opinion because you feel like it or you don't like something?
    yet i fail to see how this is supposed to help anyone.
    Again, the point of expressing my opinion was not to help anyone. If is does as a bi-product then just one more benefit. But don't tell me I can't express my opinion, even if it is just fun for me, because it bruises some moral code you have established for yourself. I don't subscribe to it. I agree with it, like I have said, in an unsupported drive by anonymous bomb-dropping comment forum of random blogs but in a discussion forum such as this one I think it is perfectly appropriate.

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    WHY DOES SHE LOOK SO OLD???
    Shes one of the sexiest girls in the world but this makes her look like a middle aged corpse covered in ash.

    Quote Originally Posted by sone_one View Post
    i like that for creating discourse. yet i fail to see how this is supposed to help anyone. whom would it help to say "i dont like it", other than yourself venting?
    Dude normally youre on point but I dnot get you on this subject; this isnt Prime Ministers Questions, its an internet forum called Art Discussion. The clue's in the name. Whats wrong with talking about art, venting about stuff thats bad or feteing stuff thats good?

    Quote Originally Posted by sone_one View Post
    without the creator knowing about it? i dont think so. i think its rude and dismissive.
    Limiting discussion to art where the artist knows about the discussion..? How would that even work. Do we have to tell him? Bizarre.

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    How does critique help? Good question. I think critique and analysis helps on many levels. For the beginner it opens them up to the idea that even a high level artist painting a prominent portrait can drop the ball. It can inform them that just copying a photo is not real portraiture but simply the translation of the subject from one media to another. It can offer them a point of reflection to say, "Do I want to even aspire to that kind of work? And if so how can I find a better way? What would I do differently? How am I going to paint a portrait in a different way next time?"...things like that. In addition portraiture is a very sensitive subject and anyone curious enough can follow up on my Sargent reference, recognized for two things in art history: his ability to capture a sense of life in his portraiture and at teh same time his dislike for doing it.

    As for more accomplished, professional artists, portrait artists or not as Bill says it gives us the opportunity to discuss things. Simple as that. It might mean we even ask the same questions but in relation to our own work, "How can I not do what Emsley did there?" Even if it is a completely different genre of painting.

    So for all the usual reasons it's a completely valid topic and place to discuss. I don't quite understand where you're coming from?

    And yes, integrity is a big word. More than happy to tell you about the jobs I've turned down and walked away from because I felt my integrity was paramount.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    OK, now you're telling me that if I say something out loud that I need to be concerned how much it concerns everyone who might read it? I also said more than I don't like it. I believe lifeless. And words like that can spark discussion. No one's concern but my own is perfectly valid. I will never feel obligated to support everything I have or ever will say. I'm not sure I understand your criticism of rather restrictive. You seem to be jumping all over the place with your crit of me having the right to crit. I don't need to defend my right to opinion. I have an opinion but how it that relates to others is your crit of me? Restrictive? Opinions can't be shared unless they fit your idea of what can be shared? If it doesn't benefit mankind as a whole I can't share it? You have never and never will share an opinion because you feel like it or you don't like something? Again, the point of expressing my opinion was not to help anyone. If is does as a bi-product then just one more benefit. But don't tell me I can't express my opinion, even if it is just fun for me, because it bruises some moral code you have established for yourself. I don't subscribe to it. I agree with it, like I have said, in an unsupported drive by anonymous bomb-dropping comment forum of random blogs but in a discussion forum such as this one I think it is perfectly appropriate.
    look this is getting redicilous.... im not trying to pull of an opinion-nazi on anyone. i didnt mean to take any measures to stop anyone from saying something that contradicts my take on it, or my standards. but i act by my standards. if i think some behaviour is dismissive, ill feel free to use the opportunity to say so, or not... depends.
    you brought up good points why you want that to happen. i appreciate that. i dont agree completely, but i see some points i havent seen before. it influenced my stance, but dont expect me to completely change it... i have my reasons to think how i do aswell as you.

    ive been here for a while, and i know how mechanics around here usually work. i didnt expect to shut this thread down with my statement. but to get it onto a level i feel is much more beneficial. beeing how we deal with crits, judgement and evaluation. tbh this picture offers only so much to say about... its just not interesting at all. why talk about it? i enjoyed the argument that evolved much more .

    comming up with the killer-argument of "you try to shut it all down, not wanting to hear anything else than agreement" is completely unjustified and quite infantile imo.

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  39. #56
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    "you try to shut it all down, not wanting to hear anything else than agreement"
    I assume you're not quoting me as I hope I would not say that. Derailing a thread is sometimes beneficial and leads to a more interesting discussion as I believe this did. Opinionifying (not a word but should be) on the internet is as interesting subject for me as I feel there is a vast difference between a I think the new Kia Optima is beautiful or ugly, or discussion of art on a non art forum is different than a discussion of art on an art forum. I still believe that there should be a kind of etiquette in cyberspace although that is a losing, well let's be honest, lost cause. But I also believe that things in the public like movies and high profile artwork is destined for critique. We've all had fun ripping movies, books, etc.

    Anyway, this discussion remained civil and actually brightened up my morning a little. Now that's not easy to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I don't quite understand where you're coming from?
    ill tell you...

    1) i dont like the thought of my artwork beeing posted anywhere for crit without me knowing, without chance to react, explain, whatever. fortunately noone cares enough .

    2) its easy to mock someones effort without the need to back it up, or expertise on situational factors or skill... without putting your money where your mouth is, so to say.

    3) i think its cowardly to pull someones else artwork out for discussion, rather than your own.

    4) i spent most of my day yesterday, trying to convince certain family members not to be as judgmental, if it comes to evaluating other family members situation and options. so yeah it influenced my predisposition, and id say certain things differently today... maybe nothing at all... or even more, but different (or not)... who knows.

    all of these points with a focus on #3 is where im coming from .

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    It's funny to me how harsh people get once something gets attention.

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    #3??? After all our discussion that's what you choose as most important? So those of us who choose to crit others' artwork are cowards? Those of us who enter the biggest contests in the world to have them critiqued by other artists are cowards? If my work is seen all over the world in a movie, video game or otherwise I would not find it cowardly if others critiqued it. Probably wouldn't pay attention. His work is being seen all over and that is part of payment for worldwide exposure. Kind of like those celebrities who work their whole life to be celebrities then say they don't want to shared. I am not a coward for critiquing a fellow artists work without his permission.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    I assume you're not quoting me as I hope I would not say that.
    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Opinions can't be shared unless they fit your idea of what can be shared? If it doesn't benefit mankind as a whole I can't share it?
    well could help myself not reading it like that .


    Quote Originally Posted by bcarman View Post
    Anyway, this discussion remained civil and actually brightened up my morning a little. Now that's not easy to do.
    i think id have a lot of fun having a beer and talk face to face, with a lot of you guys, especially the ones that challenge and disagree with me. (not really interested in where we are alike... where we are different and why is much more interesting. perfect agreement is a situation where everything stopped moving, no action, no friction, no energy, just plain dead.)

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