This week the Danish magazine, Billed-Bladet, brings an article about my royal portraits.
Under the pictures you can find the article translated into English, and you can see the article here: Article in Billed-Bladet
See the full portraits here:
The artist Lars Physant first portrayed princess Benedikte, later on queen Margrethe and last year queen Anne-Marie, who wished that her husband should also be in the painting. This way, it was created “The double Odyssey. The promise of the wind”.
The internationally well-known artist was taken by surprise during a royal party when he received the commission to paint a royal portrait. This is what happened when Lars Physant was required by princess Benedikte during the dinner-dance Art et Lettre organised by the royal family at Christiansborg Palace last month of March. The princess conveyed to Lars Physant that he had been chosen to paint queen Anne Marie’s portrait for her 70th birthday as a present from a circle of friends.
– It had been already an unforgettable evening, says Lars Physant, who lives and works in Barcelona, talking about that royal fest to which he had been invited after he had painted queen Margrethe’s and princess Benedikte’s portraits.
Both sisters were so pleased with their respective portraits that queen Anne- Marie just left the challenge in Lars Physant’s hands.
– Another pleasant surprise was that queen Anne-Marie did not wish to be alone in the painting but instead she wished to sit next to her husband, king Constantine. After some days of work, drawing sketches and making studies of the royal couple in their Peloponnesse residence in Greece, one can understand the reason. They are deeply united, and in spite of the several ideas I had for the portrait, I instantly knew that the soul of the portrait should be their love, their relation, trustfulness, friendship and exceptional complicity – and of course, surrounded by their beloved Greece, the nature, the sea and the sky. All of which they had to live without for the 47 years that the royal couple had to live far away from Greece, says Lars Physant, after a week of conversations, conversations, conversations.
And in between the long talks many of the studies were coming to light.
– It is a voyage into another persons life. One has to discover the person in order to be able to draw the expression of their faces, their look, what forms their look and their eyes. The expression that gives them identity, says Lars Physant, who couldn’t obtain inspiration from other artists, because no previous portrait of neither the king nor the queen exists.
– Indeed, it was a great responsibility. Particularly since it was a royal portrait. But I wanted it to be a big responsibility in order to challenge myself and give the best I had, Lars Physant smiles, when he explains that such a difficult and demanding task automatically fills him with energy and improves his creativity.
Besides the conversations in the terrace of their residence in front of one of the most beautiful coast views of Greece, Lars Physant also sailed with the royal couple on their boat ”Afroessa”, which had been a present from the king to the queen and indeed another great passion they share.
– It was a great experience to be able to meet the royal couple in such an intense situation and it was a real pleasure to be on board their yacht. They love to sail and for that reason I had no doubt that the boat should also appear in the painting in one way or another. Moreover because king Constantine had experienced the extraordinary triumph of winning a gold medal in the Olympic Games in Rome as a young 20 year-old sailor in 1960. As a matter of fact, the first Greek gold medal in 48 years, tells Lars Physant.
From that fact, he was inspired to make two different paintings even though this was more time consuming.
– I had expected to finish the work for the Queen’s birthday on 30th August, but it obviously was a long process. Longer than I had anticipated, because I felt I had to paint two highly detailed studies to present to the royal couple for them to choose from. The monarchs understood the situation and gave me their valuable support, says Lars Physant.
The artist considered the pros and cons of each study together with queen Anne-Marie.
– I am sure that if a portrait of the royal couple already existed, they would have chosen the more relaxed situation in the yacht. But since that is not the case, the more formal situation was selected, says Physant. The portrait was presented to queen Anne-Marie at Amalienborg in October.
A painting without a frame, which is formed by 14 single paintings, pointilist, abstract, highly detailed on different types of canvas, in order to create dynamics and movement. Not to mention the unbelievable details, stories and anecdotes that contains the painting, when the spectator dives into the details – details that the royal couple also wear on their clothing.
For example, King Constantine wears his favourite tie, a present from his son prince Pavlos, with the “Greek eye” pattern, which is said to protect from illness – a tie that took more than two days to paint, due to its 366 eyes (as it was a leap year) all of them different. The queen shows a gold olive-tree-branch brooch on her jacket, which mirrors the olive tree branch behind her, where also the Greek flag can vaguely be seen waving in the breeze. The island we see far behind the couple is the view from their garden and also the place where they spent their honeymoon. Their beloved boat can also be seen lying on the bay highly detailed with the Greek royal flag on the mast.
In both paintings queen Anne Marie and King Constantine appear almost like one person, very close together, and love and unity are the first impressions the spectator perceives.
– It pleases me, but this is not a coincidence; this is how the relation between them is. This is the way they sit naturally and they often seek each other with a gentle touch. Their love for each other is obvious and quite unique, say Lars Physant, who heard this statement confirmed by queen Anne-Marie herself at the presentation of the painting, when she explained why it should be a double portrait: We are one.
By Trine Larsen /Billed-Bladet
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