The BP Portrait Award, now in its 38th year at the National Portrait Gallery and 28th year of sponsorship by BP, is a highly successful annual art event aimed at encouraging artists to tackle the theme of painted portraiture within their work. The BP Portrait Award, one of the world’s most prestigious art competitions, has a first prize of £30,000, making it one of the largest for any global arts competition.
The BP Portrait Award is popular with artists with 2580 entries from 87 countries. It is also popular with the public, last year the BP Portrait Award exhibition received over 300,000 visitors. From the original entries, 53 portraits have been selected for the exhibition and the winners are selected from these portraits.
This year’s first prize was won by Suffolk based artist, Benjamin Sullivan for Breech! a portrait of his wife Virginia breastfeeding their eight month old daughter.
The second prize of £10,000 went to French painter and illustrator, Thomas Ehretsmann, for Double Portrait, depicting his pregnant wife Caroline.
The third prize of £8,000 went to Antony Williams for Emma his portrait of model turned friend, Emma Bruce, completed in his studio in Chertsey.
The BP Young Artist Award of £7,000 for the work of a selected entrant aged between 18 and 30 has been won by 26 year old New Zealand artist Henry Christian-Slane for Gabi, a portrait of his partner Gabi Lardies.
The winner of the BP Travel Award 2017, an annual prize to enable artists to work in a different environment on a project related to portraiture, was Casper White for his proposal to create works about music fans in clubs and concert venues in Berlin and Mallorca. The prize of £6,000 is open to applications from any of this year’s BP Portrait Award-exhibited artists, except the prize-winners.
The BP Travel Award 2016 winner Lithuanian artist Laura Guoke is displayed in the BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition.
The winning portraits were selected and judged anonymously by a panel which included broadcaster Kirsty Wark and artist Michael Landy.
Part of the attraction of this free exhibition is to enjoy the wide variety of portraiture which features some famous and not so famous faces. The standard is consistently high and it is fun when you wander around the exhibition to pick out your own particular favourites and decide whether you agree with the judge’s choices.
The portrait can be seen at the National Portrait Gallery from Thursday 22 June when the BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition opens to the public. Admission to the exhibition is free.
The BP Portrait Award 2017 exhibition will run at the National Portrait Gallery, London, from Thursday 22th June to Sunday 24th September 2017 and then go on tour to the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery Exeter (4 October – 3 December 2017); Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh (December 2017 – March 2018); Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens (March – June 2018.)
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
If you would like to find out more about the exhibition, visit the National Portrait Gallery website here
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