Terry Ward / GrumpyVisualArtist.BlogSpot.com
The recent kerfluffle over the official painting of Kate Middleton
Artist John Napper's 1953 coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II --promptly rejected and whisked into storage for six decades. (Photo by TrinityMirror.com via The Telegraph
Today's technology allows one to test the theory by digitally adding a perspective-shift to the image. (Presumably old-fashioned technology also could have worked since a large format camera's movable bellows can allow one to nudge the apparent perspective
Shifting the vertical perspective by -40% (a fair approximation of looking up toward a picture hung high up) creates these changes:
So indeed her neck shrinks a bit --though it still looks too big. Perhaps a somewhat-oversized neck is passable in the same way fashion images are often elongated.
(Shifting less than -40% made little noticeable change. Shifting more than -40% was bizarre: neck perhaps better-sized but topped by a pinhead --and with forearms inflated to Manchester steelworker proportions. Manhands on Her Royal Highness just won't do.)
Less obvious problems with the picture include:
1) Alignment of her skirt's horizontal color change area with the horizontal of the stair-step behind her (a compositional "fault" for which realist art instructors of the time would have downgraded any student), and
2) Confused rendering of linear perspective
Remove the person and make this a perspective assignment in a high-end art academy and this would have been graded B+ if the teacher were in a forgiving mood.
Either way, it would seem like the picture would look at its best if indeed hung up high as the artist intended.
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