BERLIN - A German artist whose painting of a blue horse was presented as a gift to Britain's visiting Queen Elizabeth II, prompting a quizzical reaction over its "strange colour", defended her work Friday.
Nicole Leidenfrost told German newspapers that her art was about "having fun" and insisted the 89-year-old queen had liked the rendering of her as a little girl being led on a pony by her father, King George VI.
The modern artwork, based on a photograph, was presented to the queen, who is on a state visit to Germany with her husband, Prince Philip, by German President Joachim Gauck at his Bellevue Palace earlier in the week.
"It's a strange colour for a horse", the queen is seen saying in a brief video circulating on the Internet, before adding: "And that is supposed to be my father?"
Leidenfrost shrugged off the reaction.
"It's about having fun! I don't do deadly serious art," she told the daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, highlighting the symbolism of the horse's "royal blue" hue.
In an interview with Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, the artist said the queen had only briefly looked at the painting but that it was visibly a "very cordial" situation.
"She laughed and was pleased. And that was exactly my goal," Leidenfrost said.
German commentators Friday also picked up on negative remarks in some British newspapers about the gift, with Berlin's Tagesspiegel defending "artistic freedom".
And several couldn't resist adding: "Never look a gift horse in the mouth".