The latest portrait of Kate Middleton is not exactly Palace-approved.
Artist Kaya Mar has created a Renaissance-inspired oil painting of the Duchess breastfeeding her unborn child. Depicted as the Madonna with a halo around her head and holed socks, Kate appears as a saint-like figure, nursing a baby in a crown as a Corgi (the Queen’s favorite breed) sits beside her.
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Mar, who began working on the portrait a month ago, explains his motivation to Yahoo Shine. “It’s satire,” he says. “I don’t have anything against Kate Middleton, but I’m using her as a metaphor for how our society elevates people into icons. Before she met William, she was a commoner. Now, people worship her.”
He explains that the socks with holes signify her "commoner" background, while the halo reflects who she has become through her marriage to Prince William. Meanwhile, he purposefully emulated the poses found in the iconic Madonna and child Renaissance portraits—one more way, he explains, to show how much Kate is revered by our society.
Not everyone is comfortable with Mar’s artistic license. “What an insult to our beautiful Duchess,awful!” writes one Parentdish commenter. “This is not art!” adds another.
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Mar isn’t surprised by the reactions. “I know people are upset. I’ve gotten e-mails from people saying they want me to die,” he tells Shine. But he doesn’t regret stirring the pot.
“I want people to talk,” he says. However, one person remaining quiet is Middleton herself. According to the International Business Times UK, there will be no comment from the Palace, with a spokesperson from Clarence House reported as saying, “We would never comment on a portrait of her unless it has been commissioned by the Palace.”
He’s not the first artist to cause controversy by using a pregnant power figure as inspiration. Just last week, L.A. artist Daniel Edwards unveiled a life-size sculpture of a pregnant Kim Kardashian. In 2006, Edwards sculpted a pregnant Britney Spears giving birth on a bearskin rug. The Spears sculpture is now available for purchase.
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And the Middleton portrait may be, as well. Although Mar says he plans an eventual exhibition to display his politically-inspired paintings, he tells us that if someone wishes to buy the Middleton portrait, he would be open to discussing a potential sale.