Yesterday was a fruitful day, to say the least. I started with the gems over the weekend, went into the Dutch royal family and touched on official portraits. There is a Dutch word for this: staatsieportret.

Een staatsieportret is een plechtig portret van een persoon in functie, vaak een hoogwaardigheidsbekleder (maar niet noodzakelijk) en vaak met bijbehorende tekenen van die macht en waardigheid.

Staatsie is waarschijnlijk een versmelting van het aan het Frans ontleende stage (‘verhoging’), en staat in de betekenis ‘vertoon’, ‘praal’, ‘pracht’, ‘luister’.[1]

Staatsieportretten kunnen worden geschilderd, getekend of gefotografeerd; de persoon die wordt afgebeeld neemt hiervoor een houding aan die gezag uitstraalt of door symboliek tot uitdrukking brengt, bijvoorbeeld met regalia, eretekens of triumphalia.

I was surprised that there isn’t a proper English translation for this Dutch word. Portret is Dutch for the English word portrait, obviously. Staatsie has more different meanings. One is the French word stage which means about the same as the English word: elevation. It also denotes grandure, magnificence, splendour, state, present. The closest i could find in the dictionary is official portrait. This is not a proper translation. It’s a combination of two words, a lot more general than the Dutch staatsieportret.

I searched. Starting with the Dutch ones: the Queens Wilhelmina, Juliana, Beatrix and Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. The photo at the top of this post is from Rineke Dijkstra, a photographer who became known by her Beach Portraits (1992). This photo is very severe. There is a hint of sdness in Willem Alexander’s face. His clothes do point at the Dutch flag: red, white and blue.

Queen Elizabeth II, Obama, Clinton, Putin and Mao close of this list. The Mao picture is extremely forceful and very recognizable. It is noticeable that no man smiles and some women do smile. I don’t like the smiles. These portraits are tokens of state. A smile doesn’t seem in the right place there.

inbetween wilhelmina
Queen Wilhelmina. With a tiara, necklace, brooch,
inbetween juliana-1948
Queen Juliana, fully robed in the official Kingsmantle, with the Dutch crown, orb and sceptre
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Queen Beatrix, also wearing the Kingsmantle
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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima. The king wears the Kingsmantle. Queen Maxima wears a dress designed by Jan Taminiau.
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Queen Elizabeth II photographed by Cecil Beaton with the Kingsmantle, crown, sceptre and orb.
inbetween Official portrait of President-elect Barack Obama on Jan. 13, 2009. (Photo by Pete Souza)
Barack Obama
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Michelle Obama
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Bill Clinton painting
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Vladimir Putin. I did search for other photographs. This image has such a presence though.
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Mao. Extremely basic. His shirt, grey and closed on top. The hair slightly wider towards the sides with a receding hairline. His face full, looking calmly towards you.
Published on April 21, 2016 at 6:00 by

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