If the Danish Royal Family were hoping for a warm and loving family portrait to hang on their palace wall they will be bitterly disappointed by this rather dark and creepy painting that took artist Thomas Kluge four years to complete.
At first glance the tower of glowing red blocks being built by Crown Prince Joachim’s two sons, Prince Nikolai and Prince Felix, bring to mind blood against the shadowy background.
Princess Isabella looks hauntingly at her older brother while smothering a rag doll in her lap, and most alarming of all is the severe, ominous-looking Prince Christian in the centre of the portrait.
Queen Margrethe II and Henrik, the Prince Consort, are seated on the couch behind their grandson. Above the queen, Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary hold their twin son and daughter, Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine. Prince Joachim and Princess Marie are on the right side of the couch with their daughter Princess Athena. Their son, Prince Henrik, crawls behind his older cousin.
The Danish Royal Collection webpage offers a different interpretation of the painting as ‘both a story of modern family and a piece of royal history’.
‘In Kluge's painting the royal couple is depicted in a gilt rococo settee surrounded by their sons, daughters-in-law and grandchildren, all in everyday clothing. The present and future monarchs, H.M. The Queen, T.R.H. The Crown Prince and Prince Christian, all make eye contact with us, while their family members are portrayed in their own universe, unprovoked by the gaze of the spectator. The children are at play with the exception of the upright and severe Prince Christian who seems aware of his future responsibilities.’
It is a far cry from the fun-loving Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary we are used to seeing.
And who could forget this lovingly silly moment of Mary with her youngest son sliding down a snow field?
Whether you agree that this is one creepy family portrait or not it is safe to say it could always have been worse. Just take a look at these creepy family portraits collected from around the web.