Chris Levine & the Queen; Making History
63 years and seven months, or 23,226 days; those are the numbers that yesterday made Queen Elizabeth II the longest reigning UK monarch. And throughout her reign, her life and character have been portrayed by a wide variety of artists from Peter Blake, Terence Cuneo, Lucien Freud and George Condo.
Yet, it was Chris Levine’s portrait Lightness of Being from 2004 which managed to depict a previously uncaptured meditative and private moment of the Queen. While Levine worked on a series of 200 images for a 3-D portrait which required the Queen to sit entirely still for eight seconds at a time, it was in the intermittent moments between these shots that Levine truly managed to portray the person behind the title; in between the passes of Levine’s many photographs, he captured the informal moment where the Queen rested and where a moment of closed eyes became a moment of previously undisclosed privacy.
Subsequently released in a range of limited edition colour silkscreen prints, some of which are available from Loughran Gallery, this now celebrated and iconic image of the Queen assumes further depth and historic relevance when she yesterday at 17.30 pm officially could call herself the longest reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom.