Kehinde Wiley Princess

Kehinde Wiley

American, 1977-

Princess Victoire of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, 2012

Oil on Linen, 96x72in

Maintaining both classical European values and modern hip hop culture, Kehinde Wiley uncovers a bridge between two extremes in Princess. Originally painted by Sir Edwin Landseer of England, the painting was thought to be a sketch gifted to the Princess’s cousin, Queen Victoria. Unlike the 1839 painting upon which it is based, Princess portrays a radiating woman of color in place of Landseer’s portrait. She’s dressed in a dark blue gown that symbolizes her intelligence, wisdom, and confidence. The lighting adds soft touches around her shoulders showing a relaxed individual. The soft detailed strokes that paint this dignified woman lead to a silk shear train that cascades into the flowery background. The flowers are not just budding in nature, but symbolize her blooming understanding of her own identity: an identity that doesn’t just fit the European standards of beauty, but also her own.

Siani Antoine

An extended look at Wiley’s Princess