Queen Elizabeth II has been the reigning monarch for 70 years, the longest in history. Her Platinum Jubilee will be celebrating this momentous occasion, with parties and gatherings happening across the country. Her Royal Highness’ has contributed a lot during her reign, including charity work and in the arts, up-keeping the Royal Collection as well as supporting artists in her own private accumulation. For the last 500 years, Monarchs of the United Kingdom have collected artwork from a plethora of artists, which can be seen in the Queen’s Gallery on a rotating schedule. Paintings by William Wyld and Samuel Cooper; photographs by Roger Fenton and works of precious metals by John Bridge, just to name a few, fill the Royal collection. Her own personal collections contain works from Lynn Chadwick and Simeon Stafford, both contemporary artists, who have found themselves in the heart of the Queen of England.
The National Gallery are showcasing seven different pieces of art that the Monarch has acquired in each decade of her reign. Led by the art historian Dr Mathew Morgan, paintings of all different styles are highlighted, revealing a natural change in times as Queen Elizabeth has been on the throne. Other exhibitions are displaying fashion Her Royal Highness has worn, as well as portraits of her documenting each stage of her life.
Contemporary artists from across the country have painted portraits of Her Royal Highness in celebration of her 70-year reign, showing her cultural influence through the decades. All these works that have been created show the duplicity of the monarchy, aside from just the many layers of the Queen herself, especially implied by the mixture of classical and contemporary styles. Some artists creating tributes include Will Teather, Louisa Tebbett and James Mylne. All these pieces have some sort of underlying social commentary, whilst depicting the Queen with the elegance she’s always portrayed.
Among these artists, is a piece painted by a humanoid AI. Ai-Da, a robot artist created by Aiden Meller, is a test in teaching machine learning systems how to recognise human emotional expressions, translating them onto a canvas using algorithms. The portrait gave an opportunity to consider everything that has changed during Elizabeth II’s reign, including the huge advances that have been made in technology in the UK. Although critiques have been made alluding to the transparent and often vacuous attempts regarding AI manufactured artwork, the project regards the Queen as being a key figure present throughout all kinds of advances in the United Kingdom.