Contemporary wall art isn’t necessarily associated with Flemish artist Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger and his original painting of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, which hangs in The National Portrait Gallery, but Young & Battaglia and Kirin Young employ a contemporary twist to the artwork here. Originally, the late 16th century portrait shows a confident, aloof Robert Deveraux, a young man who captivated Queen Elizabeth the 1st.
Now however, any sign of arrogance seems extinguished. The broad winged butterfly dominates the canvas more so in this artwork from the series than in any other. Still incorporating humour, fun, mystery and intrigue like the whole series of the Butterfly portraits, but here the Earl of Essex seems to be more of a butt of the joke. Subtle it is not, but again the pallet of the butterfly draws from that of the original painting, so some measure of subtlety is still at play.