01/22/2013 01:46 pm ET

Kate Middleton Portrait Painter Hits Back At Critics

"Ordinary," "dull" and "old" were some of the kinder words used to describe the first official portrait of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton when it was unveiled to the public earlier this month.

"Lifeless," "ghastly" and "disappointing" were also adjectives thrown out to describe the work by Paul Emsley, an award-winning artist who painted Middleton, 31, against his trademark black background with a slight smile, or smirk, and lines visible around her face.

Now Emsley, who said at the time he wanted to capture Middleton's natural beauty, is fighting back against the harsh critiques that caused the portrait to become an online sensation, for all the wrong reasons.

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