The British not only have a Queen, but they also have artists portray her in what might or might not be regular intervals. What I find interesting about this is that instead of opting for a safe artist, namely someone who’d paint the umpteenth run-of-the-mill painting, quite often you get someone who’ll do something different, which makes things quite interesting (just as an aside, I think in Germany the Chancellor gets to pick who will paint his/her portrait - there’s only one - and that typically is also quite revealing and interesting). A few years back, one of my favourite painters, Lucian Freud, was commissioned to paint the Queen, and the result was utterly excellent. This year, they asked Annie Leibovitz. If you view this from a photography point of view, this is about as undaring and safe a choice as it could possibly be - but it’s a photographer they asked and not a painter. Read a glowing review here. I guess the keywords in that review are what the writer sees as the task of the portrait, namely that of “beautifying age and celebrating majesty.” Well, you know,… that they got - and really nothing else.
Update (3 May): “News” channel CNN reports: Two critics “not amused” by the portrait. For extra amusement note at what CNN decided to use as story “highlights”.
Update (7 May(: The official site about these ortraits can be found here.