Capturing the Queen: As Elizabeth turns 90, here's how she's been portrayed in art

Queen Elizabeth turns 90 on April 21, the latest milestone in the life of a monarch who has been the focus of artists ranging from traditional portrait painters to the pop art stylings of Andy Warhol and Canadian Charles Pachter, who put her on a moose.

From riding a moose to looking regal in long robes, monarch has been focus of wide range of interpretations

Queen Elizabeth turns 90 on April 21. Throughout her reign, the monarch has been the focus of artists ranging from traditional portrait painters to those who transformed her famous face into iconic pop art. One Canadian artist — Charles Pachter — even saw fit to seat her on a moose.

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Other images have gone high-tech, with light artist Chris Levine creating a 3D hologram.

(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Looking regal in her Garter robes.

Italian portrait painter Pietro Annigoni's 1954-55 work has rarely been displayed in public, and has been called "one of the greatest royal portraits of the 20th century" by the National Portrait Gallery in London. 

(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

A rare royal ride with a Canadian twist.

When Canadian contemporary artist Charles Pachter put the Queen on a moose in 1972, it didn't go over well with some royalists. He's sent copies of the work to Buckingham Palace, but he's not sure if the Queen has ever actually seen it.

She has seen him, however. Two years ago, Pachter met the Queen at the reopening of the Canadian High Commission in London.

(Charles Pachter)

First he did soup cans, then the Queen.

Andy Warhol's pop art portraits of the Queen were on display as part of an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in London to mark her Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

(Oli Scarff/Getty Images)

Not every portrait finds universal favour with the critics.

Portraits of the Queen have often courted controversy, with lamentations that they just don't look like the monarch or cast her in an unflattering light.

Realist painter Lucian Freud's work hit an artistic nerve in 2001, dividing critics and prompting one to remark: "It makes her look like one of the royal corgis who has suffered a stroke."

(Stefan Wermuth/Reuters)

Off with her head — at least in artistic fashion.

Justin Mortimer's 1997 painting also attracted controversy because the English artist separated the Queen's head from her body, but Buckingham Palace representatives have praised its modern qualities.

(Oli Scarff/GettyImages)

Paying attention to the final details.

Nigerian artist Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy was commissioned by the Commonwealth to paint a portrait of the Queen to mark her 2002 Golden Jubiliee


Getting ready for an official display.

Portraits of the Queen have been displayed in public buildings across Canada throughout her reign. A newly unveiled official Canadian portrait made its way through the foyer of the Senate in Ottawa on June 2, 2003, the 50th anniversary of her coronation.

(Jim Young/Reuters)

Standing in her state dress.

A portrait by Australia-born artist Ralph Heimans was commissioned to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012.

The oil-on-canvas work was defaced while on display at Westminster Abbey in London the following year, but was restored and put back on display several weeks later.

(Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Small portraits can end up creating a much larger image.

Self-portraits by 200,000 children were projected onto Buckingham Palace to form portraits of Queen Elizabeth on April 19, 2012.

The portraits were collected by the Prince's Foundation for Children and the Arts to celebrate U.K. children in the run-up to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

(Andrew Winning/Reuters)
  • As Queen Elizabeth approaches her 90th birthday, tune into CBC News for our royal coverage.
  • Watch In Their Own Words: Queen Elizabeth II on CBC News Network Sunday at 10 p.m. ET and PT.
  • If you'd like to send a birthday wish for the Queen or a picture of her from one of her visits to Canada, share with us at CBC Facebook or tweet at us @CBCTrending.

With files from Getty, Reuters and The Associated Press