Bernadotte portraits on display at Royal Palace in Stockholm

Stockholm  - As of Wednesday, visitors to the Royal Palace in Stockholm will be able to see eye to eye with dozens of members of Sweden's ruling Bernadotte family.

"Two Centuries of Bernadotte Portraits," ranging from King Karl XIV Johan (1763-1844) to current King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia, are included in the exhibition that the king opened Tuesday.

The some 30 portraits are displayed in the Hall of State, one of the palace's largest and grandest rooms while the Bernadotte Apartments where they have hung for the past 50 years were being renovated, curator Ursula Sjoberg said on the eve of the opening.

"The king was adamant that visitors should first see the portrait of his ancestor, Karl XIV Johan," curator Kerstin Hagsgard said of the gilt-framed, full-length portrait of the French-born monarch.

The painting from 1811 was made in France by Francois Gerard, a student of the famed artist Jacques-Louis David. It was made a year after Jean Baptiste Bernadotte was elected crown prince of Sweden and adopted by King Karl XIII who had no heirs.

Gerard also made two portraits of the future Queen Desiree (1777- 1860), Hagsgard said, showing how the artist copied her poise from a 1808 painting - "before there was any idea she would be queen" - for a 1811 painting when she was crown princess.

"The best known portrait painters of their time, both Swedish and others, are represented in the exhibition," Sjoberg and Hagsgard said.

Among the Swedes were Oscar Bjorck and Anders Zorn, whose 1910 monochrome portrait of Queen Sofia (1836-1913) captured her face "very vividly," Sjoberg said.

International artists represented in the exhibition include Germans such as Joseph Stieler, a student of Gerard, and Stieler's nephew Friedrich Duerck, Hungarian-born Philip A de Laszlo as well as US artist Nelson Shanks.

Shanks, born 1937, made the official portraits of the current king and queen in 1990-1991 and has like Zorn and Laszlo also been commissioned for portraits of US presidents.

Some of the paintings have been restored. All are displayed chronologically and at eye-level making them easier for visitors to study - as opposed to how they have been hung in the Bernadotte Apartments, high up on the walls.

The exhibition runs April 30 through October 5. More details on the internet: www. kungahuset. se. (dpa)