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Queen Elizabeth II by Pietro Annigoni in the ILN
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth (born 1926), by Pietro Annigoni 1953.
Pietro Annigoni (7 June 1910 to 28 October 1988) was an Italian portrait and fresco painter, who became world famous after painting Queen Elizabeth II in 1956.
His work bore the influence of Italian Renaissance portraiture, and was in contrast to the modernist and post-modernist artistic styles that dominated the middle and late twentieth century. He was known for his romantic portrayal of the young Queen Elizabeth II in 1956, as well as for his portraits of Pope John XXIII, US Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson, the Shah and Empress of Iran, Princess Margaret and several other members of the British royal family.
Pietro Annigoni was chosen by TIME magazine to paint President of the United States John F. Kennedy for the (January 5) 1962 Person of the Year cover. The result was perhaps his worst portrait as Kennedy would not sit still and Annigoni had no time or inclination to satisfy Time magazine. Other TIME magazine covers that featured portraits by Annigoni were the issues of October 5, 1962 (Pope John XXIII), November 1, 1963 (Ludwig Erhard), and April 12, 1968 (Lyndon B. Johnson).
Other subjects around the world that Annigoni painted include HRH Prince Phillip and several other members of the House of Windsor as well as the shoemaker Salvatore Ferragamo, Florentine author Luigi Ugolini, ballet legend Dame Margot Fonteyn, British actress Julie Andrews, Russian ballet star Rudolf Nureyev, American actress and poet Vanna Bonta as a girl, and the Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur. An outspoken artist who did not refrain from iconoclasm toward his perception of passing or superficial social trends, Annigoni wrote essays challenging modern art that disregarded the basic ability to draw. He alienated critics, who claimed his art was too representational, discounting the unique dramatic signature the artist brought to Renaissance tradition.
© Illustrated London News Ltd/Mary Evans