Cara Study I, Jonathan Yeo (courtesy Jonathan Yeo)
Model Cara Delevingne (she has famous eyebrows) takes centre stage at a Renaissance castle outside Copenhagen thanks to Jonathan Yeo. Nine new portraits of the 21st-century muse go on show from today in a 60-piece retrospective dedicated to the UK artist (20 March-30 June) at the Museum of National History housed at the spectacular Frederiksborg Castle.
Yeo makes lots of pithy points about the status of portraiture today, saying that Delevingne is synonymous with selfies. “The way we manipulate and read self-portrait images, or ‘selfies’, in the last five years has far more in common with the activity of the 16th-century portrait artists and audiences than any art movement since the birth of photography,” he says. “Cara has a beautiful face, and the confidence and humour to make herself look ridiculous. She’s always trying to cut through her public persona.” Indeed, one of the portraits depicts the Chanel muse as comic Groucho Marx.
Delevingne hangs alongside depictions of actor Nicole Kidman, activist Malala Yousafzai and the former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt. The first official portrait of the politician will enter the museum’s permanent collection. Thorning-Schmidt was impressed with Yeo’s understanding of politics. “He knows our world and our way of thinking, and I believe it has made a difference that he has brought this knowledge to the work,” she says (Tony Blair is another famous sitter of Yeo’s).