How many artists have you come across who can boast about having “being commissioned to paint Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of England”. The answer is: just one. The Australian-born artist Ralph Heimans was the only artist chosen to paint an Official portrait of The Queen in Her Diamond Jubilee Year.
The work received widespread international acclaim when it was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery of Australia in 2012, drawing record numbers of visitors to the gallery. It was then acquired by Westminster Abbey for its permanent collection, where it formed the centre-piece of their 2013 exhibition to mark the 60th anniversary of the Coronation.
Since then, Ralph Heimans has gone on to paint similar high profile figures. Amongst other Royal portraits, he was awarded the first official Danish commission of Crown Princess Mary, which was unveiled in conjunction with a major exhibition of his paintings at Frederiksborg Castle, the Danish National Portrait Gallery. It was widely celebrated for pushing the boundaries of Royal Portraiture.
What defines his work, can be summed up from this excerpt from his website:
Ralph Heimans’ large-scale portraits are renowned for their innovative compositions that offer engaging narratives about his subjects and their life stories. His sitters include extraordinary individuals who have made a significant contribution in the fields of arts, academia, law, business, politics and philanthropy. Their portrayals are informed by a creative integration of subject and context. Figures are placed in complex spatial arrangements, underpinned by an innovative use of geometry, reflection and perspective. His technical approach pays homage to the 17th Century masters of chiaroscuro, exploiting exquisite effects of light, which appear to illuminate the inner world of his subjects.
To see more of his paintings on royal figures, please head over to: