Imagine being commissioned by the royal family to paint a portrait of Duchess Catherine, one of the world's most beloved public figures. And it's not just a portrait. It's the first. Ever. That's gotta be a nervewracking assignment to say the least. But how about having to endure a completely cruel backlash after the painting is completed? What a nightmare. Yet, that's exactly what it sounds like Paul Emsley, the painter of Kate Middleton's first portrait, has had to face in the days following the release of his work. It seems like everyone's had an opinion on the painting, and most of the opinions -- save that of Kate and Wills themselves -- have been highly critical, if not downright nasty.
Some might argue the guy knew what he was signing up for when he took the gig, and maybe he should have had a thicker skin about it all. But after hearing his side of the story, my heart still goes out to him ...
Ensley, an award-winning artist, told Hello! he was pretty much devastated upon hearing negative reactions from the public:
Some of the words written about it were so personal. I'd be inhuman if I said it didn't affect me. When you take on commissions like this, it is hazardous and you expect a bit of flak, but I expected nothing like the criticism I have received. I didn't expect it to go to the levels it did.
And if that wasn't bad enough, get this. The guy was actually so affected by the disparagement -- which he likened to a "witch hunt" and "circus" -- that he actually started to question the portrait's quality.
At first the attacks were so vicious that there was a point where I myself doubted that the portrait of the duchess was any good. But now I've had time to reflect, I am still happy with it and am getting on with my life. There is nothing I would have changed.
Thank goodness that's the conclusion he reached. Because when you're putting something out there that is as huge and as public as this portrait was, it's really so easy to let a faceless mob's criticism and straight-up cruelty affect you ... Everyone just looked at the portrait and went to town criticizing how they felt it made Kate look, and then, like he said, took it too far, ripping the artist on a professional and personal level, which was totally uncalled for.
I'm happy to hear, though, that he's moved past the negative static and noise. We can squawk about it for years to come and make up memes galore ... But ultimately, all that matters is that Kate, Wills, and the royal family are pleased with his work. And that he is too.
Here's Emsley discussing the process of creating the portrait ...
How do you feel about the artist's reaction to the criticism?
Image via TheRoyalChannel/YouTube