Jonathan Yeo’s tribute to David Attenborough unveiled

Renowned portrait artist Jonathan Yeo has unveiled his latest masterpiece. It’s a strikingly green portrayal of Sir David Attenborough, commissioned by the Royal Society.


The portrait is set to go on public display on 2 July. It captures Attenborough’s wisdom and thoughtfulness.

It also captures his “childlike, infectious enthusiasm” that endeared him to worldwide audiences, according to The Guardian.

Yeo has a diverse portfolio including figures like Rupert Murdoch and Malala Yousafzai.

He expressed pride in painting the 98-year-old broadcaster, describing him as “an incredible force of nature in every way.”


Reflecting on the process, Yeo shared, “He’s got an incredible recall for details of situations and he comes alive when he’s telling stories.”

During their sittings, Attenborough’s admiration inspired the choice of a browny-green background.

Yeo remarked, “Attenborough remarked how much he liked it so I kind of went with that.”

The colour choice not only complements the subject but also invites interpretation from viewers, according to BBC.

It adds depth to the portrait’s narrative.


Yeo’s artistic journey hasn’t been without controversy, notably with his recent portrait of King Charles III receiving mixed reviews.

“It was just bonkers really; there were memes and conspiracy theories.

It was being talked about on the Daily Show and Saturday Night Live,” Yeo recounted.

Despite criticism, Queen Camilla reportedly approved, adding a royal seal of approval to the unconventional depiction.

The unveiling of Attenborough’s portrait marks a milestone in the Royal Society’s collection.

It stands alongside greats like Charles Darwin and Isaac Newton, according to The Argus.


Attenborough himself expressed gratitude.

“To spend so much of my life looking at the natural world and attempting to convey to others its amazing complexity, beauty and increasingly its fragility has been a great privilege.”

Yeo remains optimistic about the future of portrait painting amidst advancements in artificial intelligence.

“Fascinating things are happening in that sphere but it is still at the ‘proverbial monkeys with their typewriters’ phase,” Yeo remarked.


Despite AI’s potential, Yeo believes current artists have little to fear about being replaced anytime soon.

Yeo’s green-hued tribute to Attenborough will captivate audiences.

It serves as a testament to both the enduring relevance of portrait art and the timeless impact of Attenborough’s legacy on environmental awareness.

Yeo’s portrait promises will adorn the halls of the Royal Society. It will also inspire reflection on the challenges and wonders of our natural world for years to come.

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