LONDON -- A new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II's husband, Prince Philip, depicts him bare-chested with a bug on his shoulder and a plant growing out of his finger.
The prince, 82, sat for prize-winning painter Stuart Pearson Wright four times, with his shirt on. A model posed for the chest part of the painting, which depicts the upper half of the prince's torso, Pearson Wright said while unveiling the painting yesterday.
Pearson Wright said the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, which commissioned the work, rejected it, so he gave them a different version that showed only Philip's head.
The artist said the blue fly, known as a bluebottle, which he placed on Philip's shoulder, was meant to emphasize the prince's mortality, because it feeds on decaying organic matter and is sometimes used as a reminder of death.
In the painting, Philip points up with his right index finger, which sprouts four strands of cress. Pearson Wright said they symbolize the prince's four children.
The Abbott and Holder art gallery in London is selling the work, titled "Homo sapiens, Lepidium sativum and Calliphora vomitoria," the scientific names for human, cress, and bluebottle, for $45,000.
Pearson Wright has said that when Prince Philip saw the painting in its early stages, he exclaimed: "Gadzooks! As long as I don't have to have it on my wall." Buckingham Palace said yesterday that Philip has had many portraits painted of him over the years and had not offered an opinion on this one.