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King Charles III Red Portrait: Unraveling the Mystery Behind the Butterfly

This eight-plus-foot tall portrait stands out from more traditional royal depictions due to its uniform use of red hues throughout the canvas, except for the monarch's hands and face.

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King Charles III Red Portrait

King Charles III Red Portrait: In his striking, larger-than-life work, Jonathan Yeo, the artist who painted the first official portrait of King Charles III since his coronation, says he wanted to minimize visual distractions.

This eight-plus-foot tall portrait stands out from more traditional royal depictions due to its uniform use of red hues throughout the canvas, except for the monarch’s hands and face.

“I try to capture the life experiences etched into the face of every subject,” Yeo explained in a statement. “Above all, I aim to communicate the subject’s deep humanity.”

To add “a layer of narrative depth,” he added a monarch butterfly, named after an earlier English king, William of Orange.

Why is King Charles III’s portrait red? And why is there a butterfly over his shoulder?

A vibrant red background underscores the color of King Charles III’s bright red uniform in the portrait, which depicts the monarch as a Regimental Colonel of the Welsh Guards.

As a result, the artist sought to echo the royal heritage of earlier historical portraits while also injecting a dynamic, contemporary jolt into the genre with its uniformly powerful hue, thus providing a modern contrast to more traditional depictions.

Yeo began the portrait when the current monarch was still the Prince of Wales, and the butterfly represents both “his advocacy for environmental causes” and his “personal transformation” into His Majesty.

“In the context of art history, a butterfly often the symbol of metamorphosis and rebirth, and thus also parallels the King’s transition from Prince to monarch during the period the portrait was created,” Yeo added.

According to the artist, the piece symbolizes nature’s beauty and precariousness, highlighting the environmental causes the King championed for most of his life.

“It also provides a visual contrast to the military steeliness of the uniform and sword,” he explained.

Also Read: King Charles III execution vest to be exhibited

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