Unveiling the Controversial Painting of King Charles by Jonathan Yeo

Unveiling the Controversial Painting of King Charles by Jonathan Yeo

When Jonathan Yeo revealed his official painting of King Charles last week, titled ‘HM King Charles III’, the art world was taken aback by the use of the color red on the massive 8-foot canvas. The internet exploded with memes and TikTok videos, creating a buzz around the portrait that even the artist did not foresee.

In a recent episode of A Right Royal Podcast, host Andrea Caamano and HELLO!’s royal editor Emily Nash had the opportunity to chat with Jonathan Yeo about his masterpiece, which took a total of four years to complete. The artist shared insights into his four-hour-long sittings with the King, some of which occurred before Charles became the reigning monarch.

During the interview, Jonathan disclosed how King Charles reacted to the use of the bold red color in the painting during their last sitting in November. Surprisingly, the monarch did not express disapproval and seemed to appreciate the artistic choice, as Jonathan recounts, “If he’d been appalled, I think, I might have rethought it and toned it down a bit. But he didn’t seem that way.”

Explaining his decision to use red in the portrait, Jonathan shared, “That was something I’d made an early decision to try out. Because I thought it was an interesting color and you want it to be interesting.” Despite the divisive reactions to the color choice, the artist stands by his decision, stating, “I didn’t think it was a risky thing to do, I thought it was an interesting color.”

Jonathan also discussed the difficulties he encountered while painting the portrait of King Charles, especially when incorporating the Welsh Guard’s uniform with its bright red color, as per the specific requirements of the commission. The painter had to carefully figure out how to integrate the uniform into the artwork seamlessly.

In the podcast episode, Jonathan touches on whether the monarch reached out to him following the portrait’s viral fame and shares some behind-the-scenes details about the most challenging aspects of creating the artwork. Additionally, Prince Harry’s friend David Wiseman, who accompanied the Duke and Duchess of Sussex to Nigeria, provides further insights into their recent trip.

As the painting continues to spark conversations and reactions worldwide, Jonathan Yeo’s unique and bold interpretation of King Charles in ‘HM King Charles III’ solidifies his reputation as a leading contemporary artist unafraid to push the boundaries of traditional portraiture.


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