What We're Reading 9/13/22

Chris Levine, Lightness of Being (2004). Photo courtesy of Sotheby's London.


Think You Know the Queen? These 3 Facts About Her Most Famous Portrait Will Make You Think Again

In terms of art history, Queen Elizabeth II is undoubtedly one of the most captured visages of our time. She has sat for more than 200 official portraits and been snapped in photographs by countless photographers. While images of the royal family are smattered across contemporary media, royal portraiture is, itself, an ancient art: Monarchs since the days of ancient Egypt have sent their likenesses to the farthest corners of their empires, and to foreign dignitaries as well, in highly choreographed propaganda campaigns. In England, courtiers often commissioned commemorative paintings to underscore their devotion to the ruler, particularly in the first Elizabethan era. 

Via Artnet, June 2022


How Queen Elizabeth II Used Art to Shape Her Image

Queen Elizabeth II was one of the most visually scrutinized and recorded people in history, and she shrewdly used that to manage her image over her 70-year reign—even though a handful of artists sought to subvert it. 

When Britain’s longest-serving monarch died Thursday, she left behind a museum’s worth of photographs and painted portraits. London’s National Portrait Gallery catalogs at least 1,000 images of the queen in its collection, nearly all reflecting the way she wanted to be seen as a modern-day royal.

Via Wall Street Journal


Bird Photographer of the Year Winners Capture Feathered Wonders

Despite much Internet speculation to the contrary, birds exist. If you can’t find proof of this by looking out your window, the results are in for the 2022 Bird Photographer of the Year awards, and these bird images should set the controversy to rest. From purple-crested Turacos that appear to be kissing or maybe fighting (or both?) to peacefully sleeping penguins and curious owlets, this year’s honorees have captured moments in avian life that also speak to us, their human admirers.

Via Hyperallergic