THE POPE, THE QUEEN, THE PRIME MINISTER
When I painted this triple portrait in 2011, this was the situation:
Elizabeth II was (and still is) the Queen of the United Kingdom and “Defender of the Faith.” This is a title first given to Henry VIII for his defence of the Roman Catholic faith against the teachings of Martin Luther. But that stuff all changed when the king started trying out different wives and chopping off the heads of those he didn’t like, and the Pope took the title away. But Henry got a similar one back though when he asked Parliament for, “Defender of the Church of England.” Unsurprisingly no one disagreed with the request.
Pope Benedict XVI was head of the Catholic Church. He’d been Prefect of the “Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” . His job was to defend the Catholic Church against heresy. (Perhaps defending children against pedophiles in the Church hierarchy would have been a more worthwhile endeavour).
Tony Blair was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom. He wanted to become a Catholic—probably so he could confess to telling porkies in Parliament.
A really happy looking trio aren’t they?
Why did I paint it? Well, to cut a long story short, I have always been amazed that Velasquez continued to get commissions of portraits of the Spanish Royal Family despite the fact that he always made them look unbalanced, stupid and insane. Quite mad, in fact. So I thought I’d give it a try.
Acrylic on board. Size: 80x110cms
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